NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The U.S. must dominate in space and the technologies deployable there to maintain an advantage in future wars, according to Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Matthew Glavy.
Space-based capabilities already include an array of technologies such as sensing and spying satellites, communications relays and navigation aids used by combatants on the ground, at sea and in the air. The Space Force was established years ago, as well, a sign that the U.S. Department of Defense is taking the extraterrestrial more seriously.
“Space is the most resilient capability we have,” Glavy said Dec. 11 at the Association of Old Crows conference in Maryland. “I’m telling you right now: We don’t win the space domain? Don’t even bother.”
Glavy serves as the deputy commandant for information, a role that touches advanced networking, cybersecurity, influence operations and more. Previously, he was tapped to lead Marine Corps Forces Space Command, or MARFORSPACE. Its activation, he said, was “eye opening.”
The U.S. is not alone in its appreciation of space and the potential advantages it affords. Russia and China are spacefaring world powers and, at the same time, are thought to be top national security threats. The latest U.S. National Defense Strategy warns both countries are building up counter-space capabilities, leading to a potential flashpoint.
“It’s pretty stiff competition,” Glavy said. “No space, no chance.”
Beijing in 2007 destroyed its own weather satellite in a demonstration of its growing space arsenal.
The direct-ascent anti-satellite test, or ASAT, drew international rebuke. While the additional space debris was worrisome, as even small pieces of metal pose serious collision concerns, it also raised questions about future attacks on U.S. military or intelligence satellites considered key to tracking, targeting and communication.
Colin Demarest is a reporter at C4ISRNET, where he covers military networks, cyber and IT. Colin previously covered the Department of Energy and its National Nuclear Security Administration — namely Cold War cleanup and nuclear weapons development — for a daily newspaper in South Carolina. Colin is also an award-winning photographer.