WASHINGTON — An unclassified report released Jan. 15 by the Defense Intelligence Agency does not reveal anything new about China’s advances in space technologies and capabilities. But it does highlight one major concern for the Pentagon: China’s military is becoming increasingly adept at militarizing commercial space technologies.
The People’s Republic of China is conducting “sophisticated satellite operations and probably is testing on-orbit dual-use technologies that could be applied to counterspace missions,” said the DIA in its first unclassified report made public on China’s military power.
China’s space advances in support of civil, economic and political goals could provide the nation a significant edge in military operations, the DIA said. Chinese military strategists regard the ability to use space-based systems and deny them to adversaries as central to enabling modern warfare. “As a result, the People’s Republic of China continues to strengthen its military space capabilities despite its public stance against the militarization of space,” said the report.
“Space operations probably will form an integral component of other PLA campaigns,” the DIA said. The report suggests China is building up space capabilities as a way to deter the United States or others from intervening in military conflicts in the Asia-Pacific region.