Joe Biden has been warned that it will be “game over” for the United States if China is allowed to develop weapons to knock out American satellites.
John Hannah, former national security adviser for vice-president Dick Cheney, alleged that China’s aggressive investment in technology is intended disrupt, degrade and destroy American space capabilities.
The national security expert sounded the alarm on China’s developing cyber capabilities after a classified intelligence leak reportedly exposed Xi Jinping’s efforts to build the fearsome weapons.
The Financial Times reports Mr Hannah as warning: “The future of warfare, one of the most contested domains, is going to be space. Space, in essence, is the new high ground.
“If China is able to knock out our ability to see what the enemy is doing, our ability to exert command and control and communications between our own forces, it’s virtually game over for us on the battlefield here on Earth.”
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The revelations were included in classified intelligence allegedly leaked by 21-year-old Massachusetts Air National Guardsman Jack Teixeira, according to the Financial Times.
It said that the CIA report assessed China’s plan to use cyber weapons to “deny, exploit or hijack” Western satellites.
China has enhanced its space programs in recent years. According to officials with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), president Xi Jinping has ordered the majority of its 541 satellites sent to space to be used for reconnaissance and intelligence gathering.
Hannah said China’s recent cyber technology advancements have allowed it to not only disrupt American satellites, but to “mimic” frequencies.
“What we heard about it most recently in the leaks was this very advanced cyber capability that they have to not only disrupt our satellites and what they’re able to see, but to actually have the same frequency and mimic our frequencies and actually communicate and take over our satellites,” he said.
“We’ve known for a long time the Chinese have ground based anti-satellite missiles that they’re working on.
“It’s directed energy and lasers being used to blind our satellites.
“And it’s satellites up in space that the Chinese are working on that would be able to actually attack our satellites in orbit around the Earth.”
The former national security adviser added: “We’ve got to have more satellites, better protected, more resilient, cheaper, because these systems are very, very expensive.
“So we’ve got to meld industry and government, and work on this together.
“It’s going to take a whole of society approach to figure out, because the Chinese are a genuine peer competitor.
“And in some areas, particularly on the offensive side of the equation, they’re exceeding us right now.”
American defence officials are also concerned about Russia and China’s collaboration in space.
Kevin Ryder, a defense intelligence officer for Space and Counterspace, said DIA reports show that “Russia views space as a warfighting domain and that achieving supremacy in space will be a decisive factor in winning future conflicts.”
He said: “China and Russia both advocate in organisations like the United Nations for the peaceful use of outer space but simultaneously they continue to develop these counter-space capabilities in order to deny or disrupt and maintain that space superiority.”