Pentagon fears China, Russia pose challenge to US space capabilities

China claimed it successfully landed a robotic spacecraft on the far side of the moon last month the first ever such landing

The U.S. military has grown increasingly reliant on space assets in recent years.

"The use of space has greatly expanded USA military ability to project power globally", a US defense intelligence official said, adding they can do so with fewer troops deployed and therefore less risk to American service members.

"Some actors are seeking ways to deny the effectiveness of the United States, having witnessed more than 25 years of USA military successes enabled by space capabilities", the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) study said.

Russian Federation and China are racing to advance their space-based military capabilities and could soon prevent the United States and its allies from using outer space freely.

Both countries have also made gains in tracking US space assets.

A new Pentagon report has warned that China and Russian Federation were both developing space capabilities to threaten the U.S., including lasers that could target and destroy American satellites.

China's Foreign Ministry on Tuesday said the United States allegations were "groundless", as cited by Bloomberg.

Additionally, Russia and China now have "enhanced situational awareness, enabling them to monitor, track and target US and allied forces", the report said. The proposal-entitled the Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects-was immediately shot down by the US, which labeled it "a diplomatic ploy by the two nations to gain a military advantage", according to Nuclear Threat Initiative.

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In September 2018, after Trump's announcement of the Space Force, Moscow warned Washington against deploying weapons in space and urged the global community to adopt an agreement preventing such deployments. The agency goes on to claim that the Chinese military is probably attempting to build a laser weapon system that can "disrupt, degrade, or damage", orbital satellites and the sensors they use.

One threat is a result of the successes in space. "That makes tracking satellites and discriminating satellites from threats and nonthreats and predicting and preventing collisions more challenging".

The Defense Intelligence Agency issued the warning in a report published onFebruary 11.

About 1,800 of the 21,000 large objects in space - those measuring at least four inches - with rest as debris, including parts of spacecraft, according to the report.

DIA officials spoke to reporters at the Pentagon this morning about the threats facing American dominance in space.

While China has demonstrated an anti-satellite missile and may have perfected a laser that could attack USA assets in space, Russian Federation is still working to ideal those technologies and, according to the report, focusing heavily on directed energy weapons, usually lasers or high-powered microwaves, that can disable or even destroy assets in space. "The United States harnesses the benefits of space for communications, financial transactions, public safety, weather, agriculture, navigation and more".

"Space is fundamental to US prosperity", the Pentagon official said.

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