China is the “biggest threat” in space, according to a US general


On September 13, 2022, General Bradley Chance Saltzman appeared before a Senate committee.

According to General Bradley Chance Saltzman, head of space operations for the US Air Force, the threat also originates from Russia.

According to an American general in Munich, the space has fundamentally changed over the past few years due to an exponential weapons race, with China being the “greatest threat to counter, ahead of Russia.”

General Bradley Chance Saltzman, the chief of space operations for the American air force, explained to three media representatives that “we see a wide range of weapons manufactured by our strategic rivals.” On the eve of the Security Conference in Munich, he declared, “The largest threat comes from the People’s Republic of China, but also from Russia.” “Space has fundamentally changed as a contested realm. The variety of weaponry that China and Russia have experimented with and occasionally employed requires us to change how we operate there. He insisted, citing orbital intercepts with directed energy weapons, anti-satellite missiles, and other weaponry.

After the tense meeting between the heads of American and Chinese diplomacy on Saturday in the German city, his remarks—which were somewhat predictable given the military space activities of the great powers—resonate even more strongly. Antony Blinken told Wang Yi that the Chinese balloon incident—an active “irresponsible that must never happen again”—had involved a balloon that had flown over American territory for several days before being shot down. Wang, for his part, criticized Washington’s “excessive use of force.”

Arms race

There has always been an arms race in space. The Pentagon destroyed a satellite as part of a test in 1985 using a missile. Since then, its competitors have proven they possess the same abilities: China did so in 2007, and India did so in 2019. Then, at the end of 2021, Russia’s missile fired from Earth destroyed one of its satellites. Then-NATO leader Jens Stoltenberg deemed a show of force an “act reckless.” Spacecraft that can fire lasers and satellites that can carry bombs are now a reality. According to General Saltzman, our enemies use space to aim at us and increase the range of their weapons.

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Governments’ military space operations are becoming more and more covert. But, the race is so close that a senior US official thought that China and Russia might surpass the US in 2019, the year the Pentagon unveiled its Space Force. The general scorns the notion that Washington is running behind schedule today. However, the conflict has changed from finding ways to damage satellites with powerful laser or microwave weapons to finding ways to destroy them with missiles or kamikaze satellites. The general issued a dire warning: “I will always make sure to preserve the capabilities of essential functions, such as national command and control or nuclear command and control.”

The conflict in Ukraine has also brought to light the fundamental significance of space in both present and future conflicts. The senior American observes that “space is important in contemporary combat.” “You can use cyber networks and other vectors to attack space without physically being there.” Collateral damage, harmful fallout, and, more broadly, a lack of an international code of behaviour are problems caused by this military overactivity coupled with exponential commercial proliferation.

According to his entourage, General Saltzman never spoke to his Chinese and Soviet counterparts. He participated in a round table discussion in Munich and chatted with Bjrn Arild Gram, the Norwegian defence minister. The soldier said, “We talked about proper behavior. He said, “There is a nice way to behave that doesn’t produce debris, that doesn’t interfere, that keeps safe distances, with communication in case of problems.

Space is becoming more and more crowded. Because the current texts do not address technological advancements, normative norms must be established through new international treaties. The officer stated, “We need a safe, stable, secure, and sustainable space environment. “Whatever the mechanisms […], you can’t hold people accountable for these activities if you can’t define them.” And we will be a lot safer if we can work with a clear understanding of the standards.

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