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Trump’s Space Force announcement could propel us to deal with space ‘Pearl Harbor’

20 Jun 2018, 12:13 UTC
Trump’s Space Force announcement could propel us to deal with space ‘Pearl Harbor’
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On June 18, President Trump directed the Pentagon to create a Space Force as the sixth branch of the armed forces. This directive instantly puts the Pentagon and Congress in overdrive. Those who loathe or love a Space Force “separate but equal” to the Air Force must think and act decisively and quickly. Regardless of whether the Space Force actually materializes, the deliberation of its pros and cons alone could finally spring us into action to deal with the overlooked looming threat of space Pearl Harbor.
To know whether we need a Space Force, we must start with current and future threats and how we plan to counter them. By the early 2020s, China will deploy specialized worker-bee spacecraftto clean up space debris and service existing satellites. The United States, Russia, and the European Union will do the same in a similar timeframe. My two papers in 2017and 2018explain how these spacecraft can readily be re-tasked to stalk and, at a moment’s notice, attack U.S. satellites from such close proximity that we will have no time to mount a defense, a situation that can facilitate a space Pearl Harbor.
This threat of a surprise attack has been discussed since 2001, ...

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