US pressing allies for more military cooperation in space: WSJ
According to General Chance Saltzman, the US is aiming for allies to train and plan together for operations in space the same way it is done in ground, air, and naval combat.
In an interview, chief of space operations General Chance Saltzman relayed that the US is attempting to encourage more military integration with its allies but in the realm of space.
According to Saltzman, the US is aiming for allies to train and plan together for operations in space the same way it is done in ground, air, and naval combat.
“The conflict in Ukraine has made it clear: access to, and use of, space is fundamental to modern war,” he said. Saltzman recently held meetings with European officials to push for the matter, as he claims that the goal is to have shared interoperability and jointly develop tactics that exist for ground, air, and sea combat forces.
“When you get to integration [among allies], you are at a whole different place, rather than merely coordinating,” he continued.
Although some military coordination in space exists, such as Germany and France's shared satellite launches and NATO space centers, Saltzman believes that cooperation needs to go further than that.
“Quantity is a quality in itself,” he said, adding that satellites of a large coalition would be harder to target than those of one country.
Recently, a senior #US military official stated that his country is "ready to fight in space," confirming #Washington's intentions to turn the out-of-orbit technology race into a military conflict. pic.twitter.com/tLZvtScAJM— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) June 2, 2023
Saltzman expressed being impressed by space expertise in the UK, Australia, Canada, France, and other allies, but while the budgets of the aforementioned nations aren’t as large as that of the US, their “strategic thinking” has been noteworthy.
With Russia and China developing space operations as well, Saltzman claims that Russia is sending satellites “irresponsibly close” to satellites of other nations to monitor them.
According to WSJ, Russia has satellites with the ability to release an object to attack other objects in space, while China has already tested robotic arms to grab other satellites, and both nations showcased missiles with the ability to destroy orbiting satellites.
As per Saltzman, the US has learned from this that ground assets that enable satellite communication need protection just like those in space, in addition to the need to have myriad commercial operators to increase the capability of state providers.
“When those satellites were affected, the most rapid way for Ukraine to regain communication was through commercial augmentation,” he said, using Ukraine as an example after Russia intercepted satellite communications and the US satellite-based Global Positioning System.
However, Saltzman rejects concerns regarding Elon Musk’s SpaceX takeover of the rocket-launch market in the US and thus operating a monopoly.
Referring to a time when the US launches were stopped from using a Russian rocket, thus curbing the vast alternatives to get into space, he said, “There are a lot of launch providers that are rapidly competing, we are in a rapidly different space to 10 years ago."
“There are inherently military functions that need to be performed…you can’t outsource those,” he said.
Back in April, China announced that it will launch 12,992 satellites into orbit. US media reported that these new satellites will rival Musk's Starlink, which was launched through SpaceX and proved highly capable militarily in the Ukrainian conflict.