US Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. Mark Welsh, said something recently that got some ears perked, although his comments made perfect sense. At a breakfast event hosted by the Air Force Association, he said: “Other nations are preparing to use space as a battlefield, a big battlefield, and we’d better be ready to fight there. We don’t want to fight there, but we better be ready for it because other people clearly are posturing themselves to be able to do that.”
With more than 40 years of service, Gen. Welsh will retire soon. His talk at the event centered on the question of what America needs to do to better face future warfare and came down to the need for precision firepower for air, cyber, and space. He also gave credit to the Air Force Space Command for taking the lead in considering space as a possible war-front in the future.
The idea that war will take place in space at some point in time is not new. Air Force General Joseph Ashy, head of the Air Force Space Command back in the 90’s, said to Congress that space would someday be a battlefield. Even then, Ashy knew that many people would be reluctant to accept this news, and that assumption proved to be correct.
But that did not mean that space was ignored. In fact, the 1967 Outer Space Treaty stipulated only “peaceful purposes” were to be employed when nations used space as a location for their various devices (satellites, mostly). The UN charter (some asserted) included the right to self-defense. This, of course, led the US and the old USSR to send up a variety of military hardware for communications as well as early warning satellites. With time, both the US and the Russia began designing weapons to knock out the other one’s satellites (these were not deployed, however).
But that all changed as technology advanced. Today, both the US and China have shown that they can knock out satellites with various weapons. In 2008, the US destroyed a damaged satellite with a missile fired from the navy ship USS Lake Erie; in 2007, China fired on one of its damaged weather satellites with success.
As more and more nations send hardware into space, conflicts in that far-away realm seem inevitable. And, according to Gen. Welsh, the US is not ready for that type of fighting just yet.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
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