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Report Warns U.S. Needs Space-based Weapons to Defend JADC2



National Defense

JUST IN: Report Warns U.S. Needs Space-based Weapons to Defend JADC2

By Meredith Roaten

The Space Force needs to deter adversaries from attacking space infrastructure that is critical for data collection and communications, according to a new report from the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.

Satellites and space-based sensors will be a linchpin for joint all-domain command and control — the Pentagon effort to more quickly and effectively collect and transmit data to warfighters anywhere it's needed. This effort starts with the transport layer of satellites in low-earth orbit that the Space Development Agency will start launching in December, said Tim Ryan, a senior fellow at the institute and author of “The Indispensable Domain: The Critical Role of Space in JADC2.”

Released last week, Ryan’s research found that there is currently no back up for the transport layer satellites, he said. While the satellites in space will be hardened to defend against threats such as jamming and kinetic effects, Congress needs to fund offensive and defensive weapons for the Space Force, the report recommended.

“Without a credible deterrence capability, adversaries may be willing to gamble relatively minimal blowback to attack and permanently take out these essential U.S. space-based capabilities,” Ryan said during a Mitchell Institute event Oct. 24.

However, President Joe Biden’s administration announced earlier this year it would ban destructive anti-satellite testing in space, to prevent space debris and set international norms. Ryan compared the space-based weapons to nuclear weapons and noted developing the weapons with the ban in place could still be possible.

“Just like we don't do nuclear underground testing anymore today, that does not mean we do not have nuclear weapons on alert today as a deterrence to our adversary,” he said. “ While we may say that we don't want to and we stand behind not doing kinetic debris-creating testing, that does not mean that we should not have that capability as we go forward.”

Full story https://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/articles/2022/10/24/policy-paper-calls-for-space-based-weapons-to-defend-jadc2

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