In an interview Tuesday with Fox News chief political anchor Bret Baier, two top Defense Intelligence Agency officials warned that China and Russia are primed to explore and exploit the space frontier, while at the same time potentially engaging in “counter-space capabilities” to stymie others’ explorations.
Defense Intelligence Officer for Space and Counterspace Dr. John Huth, and Defense Intelligence Officer Kevin Ryder joined Baier for the sit-down at the DIA’s Museum at JBAB in Washington, after they reportedly published a report on threats in space.
“[T]hreats in space have grown substantially: Not just space capabilities, but counterspace capabilities, so capabilities that would deny others’ use of space as well as … Russia and China, specifically, reforming or reorganizing their space forces,” Huth said.
Former President Donald Trump notably established the world’s thus-far only independent national Space Force, as America’s eighth uniformed service.
Baier noted Russia has publicly supported the space arms control agreement, but that its military doctrine – per the DIA’s report – views space as a war-fighting domain wherein it could seek to achieve supremacy to win future conflicts.
Ryder replied that China and Russia, along with the U.N., all advocate for the peaceful use of space, but at the same time, the two U.S. rivals continue to “develop these counter space capabilities in order to deny or disrupt and maintain that space superiority.”
“Russia and China both have plans to explore the moon right in the next 30 years, both independently and working together to do so. And even there’s potential to have mining on the moon,” Ryder said, adding many believe there are deposits of lucrative rare earth minerals for exploitation on the lunar sphere.
Huth said the dynamic hearkens back to the original space race in the mid-20th Century, when the United States landed the first man on the moon.
“China in particular has placed a lot of economic and military power behind their space developments, while Russia, on the other hand, still likes to provide funding for their space program. But they’re competing with other military modernization efforts,” Ryder said.
Satellites from adversarial nations could also affect Americans’ everyday lives, they said, pointing to how they could interfere with financial transactions and the power grid.
“Things like that. Being able to pump gas or just even sitting at home watching a movie with your family,” added Ryder.
“They want to monitor what we’re doing up there. So they build these capabilities also to try to deny U.S. military efforts.”
China’s now-famous “balloon” exploits over the United States and Canada are only a small part of the entire atmospheric picture in a similar regard, he said.