Avoiding a Space War

If there is a war in space, the kinetic mess “doesn’t go away,” Air Force Space Command boss Gen. John Hyten said Dec. 8 at an AFA Mitchell Institute space power breakfast in Washington, D.C. “I never want to experience a war in space,” Hyten said, noting that while Gettysburg was likely the most terrible view in the world on July 3, 1863, it is now one of the most beautiful places in the world. With a war in space, he said, “a hundred years from now, it’s still there.” If the debris is in geosynchronous orbit, it will be there forever, Hyten said. That’s why the Air Force can’t ignore the fact that space is now a contested environment, he said. “We as Air Force Space Command, we as United States Strategic Command, have to figure out how to deal with the threats that are coming. And they’re there. What the Chinese and Russians are doing is significant,” because if “you can control information, you can control the battlefields of the future,” he said. Hyten also stressed that what the US and the Air Force does in space is not about space or satellites, it’s about the effects on the ground. “Space is critical to everything that we do in the military,” he said. (For more from Hyten’s address an AFA Mitchell Institute-Rand Corporation forum last week, read You Can’t Look Back.)