Donald Trump named the US Space Forces, created in 2019, one of the achievements of his presidency. According to the American leader, the emergence of this type of armed forces prevents Russia and China from domination in orbital space. Earlier, the head of the White House and American generals have repeatedly noted Washington’s lag behind Moscow and Beijing. In addition, the United States regularly issues accusations against the Russian Federation and the PRC of militarizing space. However, experts believe that such rhetoric serves only as a kind of cover for the deployment of American strike weapons in space.
“After assuming the presidency, I realized that we needed such troops, because Russia and China were claiming space domination. We cannot allow this. Now we will dominate space. They are not too happy about the formation of our Space Forces, but now we have such troops, ”said Trump.
“Space for warfare”
The United States Space Force (USSF), as a separate type of the Armed Forces, was established in 2019 at the initiative of the head of the White House. Their appearance led to a change in the structure of the country’s armed forces for the first time since 1947, when the US Air Force was formed.
The decision of the head of the White House to create the USSF was preceded by meetings with high-ranking military personnel. Some of them opposed this initiative, which assumed the withdrawal of the Space Command from the subordination of the Air Force.
Critics pointed out that the emergence of a new type of armed forces would complicate the command and control system, increase bureaucratic red tape and costs. At the same time, supporters of Trump’s idea insisted that the presence of the Space Forces would increase the effectiveness of the military development of extraterrestrial space.
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In particular, NASA Director Jim Bridenstein believes that the new type of aircraft will allow the United States to protect its orbital group, thereby preventing a possible shutdown of the country’s power grid and banking system. According to him, potential opponents of the United States allegedly call space “the American Achilles’ heel.”
At the same time, political scientists believe that the idea of forming the Space Forces as a separate branch of the armed forces is in many ways “incapable”.
“It is very difficult to delimit the functionality of the military in such a way that they are exclusively engaged in space. After all, now everything is interconnected and works in a complex. In addition, as technological progress develops, the border between air and outer space is erased, “said Alexei Podberezkin, director of the MGIMO Center for Military-Political Research, in an interview with RT.
It is worth noting that Trump explained the need for the formation of the USSF by the US lagging behind Russia and China. The head of the White House, like the American generals, sees orbit as the same “space for warfare as land, air and sea.”
The US President is confident that the USSF will not allow America’s “superiority in space” to be challenged. The United States authorities have repeatedly accused Russia and China of allegedly militarizing space. In particular, Washington is concerned about the development of anti-satellite weapons and new orbiters capable, as American politicians assure, to disable other satellites.
On July 23, the Commander of the Space Forces, General John Raymond, accused Russia of testing an anti-satellite weapon, which means the Kosmos-2543 satellite. The head of the USSF claims that recently this device allegedly conducted maneuvers near an American orbital object.
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At the same time, in mid-July, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation officially notified that Russia had successfully tested a new inspector apparatus. He conducted “a close-up survey of one of the domestic satellites using specialized equipment of a small spacecraft.”
Moscow faced similar claims from Washington in February this year. The United States authorities said that the Russian spacecraft Kosmos-2542 allegedly “pursued” the American satellite USA-245 (KN-11).
Commenting on Washington’s accusations, the Russian Foreign Ministry clarified that the movement of the domestic apparatus “did not pose a threat to the American space object and, most importantly, did not violate any norms and principles of international law.” The ministry once again called on the American side to stop provoking an arms race in space and not turn it into a new field of military confrontation.
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The United States expressed dissatisfaction with Russia’s activities in space in April 2020. Then John Raymond said that the Russian Federation had tested a satellite intercept rocket. In the same month, during a videoconference organized by the Mitchell Institute, the head of the USSF said that the United States continues to lose its supremacy in extraterrestrial space. At the same time, he expressed the hope that the situation could be corrected while maintaining the course of increasing military spending.
“We are managing critical space capabilities, and we need to be able to protect it. Now I am calm: we have defensive and defensive capabilities, but I am more concerned about our ability to act quickly and preempt a threat. It is obvious that other countries are catching up with us, ”said the USSF commander.
In 2019, while serving as the head of the US Air Force Space Command, Raymond prepared a report stating that Russia and China have made significant strides in developing advanced military technology, thus gaining resources to compete with the United States in space.
“Potential adversaries can threaten our use of space in many types of orbits. And soon they will be able to jeopardize the total space potential of the United States in all types of orbits, ”the document said.
At the stage of militarization
Experts believe that accusations against Moscow and Beijing about the militarization of space serve as a political and informational cover for the deployment of the United States in orbit with a full-fledged military infrastructure, including weapons.
So, in the plans of the Pentagon – the development of an autonomous orbital space station, which, as military experts admit, can accommodate combat systems and space object control facilities, including the Boeing X-37 (X-37B) orbital aircraft.
This device is an experimental unmanned vessel capable of long-term flights in space. The first launch took place in April 2010. In May 2020, the orbital plane embarked on its sixth mission.
The Pentagon does not disclose information about the military tasks that the spacecraft performs, but the expert community has the opinion that the Boeing X-37 has become an integral part of the US space militarization program and is capable of destroying satellites of foreign countries.
U.S. Space Command
In a commentary to RT, Pavel Feldman, Deputy Director of the RUDN Institute for Strategic Studies and Forecasts, expressed confidence that the American leadership will continue to step up efforts to further militarize the orbital space.
“The United States has made it clear to the entire world community that it will not enter into any agreements, including on military space exploration. Therefore, Washington ignores calls from Russia and China to sit down at the negotiating table to prevent an arms race and militarize the orbital space, ”Feldman stated.
Alexey Podberezkin adheres to a similar point of view. According to his forecast, Washington will increase funding for military space programs. At the same time, the analyst doubts that the tasks set for the USSF to achieve superiority can be realized.
“At first glance, Trump’s idea of separating the Space Forces from the Air Force structure is understandable, since it allows concentrating more money in this segment and, as a result, starting to deploy strike systems in space. However, from an organizational point of view, the Americans are likely to have a lot of problems. In addition, neither Russia nor China is clearly going to concede leadership in space to the United States, ”Podberezkin stressed.