Bush Sucking Up to China

From Defense News.Com:

China has fired high-power lasers at U.S. spy satellites flying over its territory in what experts see as a test of Chinese ability to blind the spacecraft, according to sources.
It remains unclear how many times the ground-based laser was tested against U.S. spacecraft or whether it was successful.
But the combination of China’s efforts and advances in Russian satellite jamming capabilities illustrate vulnerabilities to the U.S. space network are at the core of U.S. Air Force plans to develop new space architectures and highly classified systems, according to sources.


Pentagon officials, however, have kept quiet regarding China’s efforts as part of a Bush administration policy to keep from angering Beijing, which is a leading U.S. trading partner[emphasis mine – afarensis] and seen as key to dealing with onerous states like North Korea and Iran.
Even the Pentagon’s recent China report failed to mention Beijing’s efforts to blind U.S. reconnaissance satellites. Rather, after a contentious debate, the White House directed the Pentagon to limit its concern to one line.[emphasis mine – afarensis] In that one line, the report merely acknowledges China has the ability to blind U.S. satellites, thanks to a powerful ground-based laser capable of firing a beam of light at an optical reconnaissance satellite to keep it from taking pictures as it passes overhead.
According to top officials, however, China not only has the capability, but has exercised it. It is not clear when China first used lasers to attack American satellites. Sources would only say that there have been several tests over the past several years.

Do you have warm fuzzies about Bushs’ ability to keep us safe yet?

Wynne stressed that what’s at stake isn’t merely U.S. military superiority, but the fate of global commerce because signals from Air Force GPS satellites are critical to everything from airline and maritime commerce to car navigation systems.


But analysts, executives and even officials within the Pentagon have criticized the Air Force, arguing that the service is talking a good game but falling short on execution — largely for lack of budget.
One veteran space industry executive expressed shock at how limited the debate has been to better secure U.S. spacecraft, given the evidence that nations are investing in systems to blind American leaders in a future crisis.
The reason, executives and analysts said, is that such safeguards are complicated and expensive, and become targets when programs go over budget or fall behind schedule.
Case in point? One source said the Pentagon is so thirsty for more bandwidth to handle burgeoning communications demands that it has been short-changing security, which consumes bandwidth.
“It’s a tradeoff,” said one industry source. “And so far, the pressure has been for capacity over security.”
According to analyst Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute, the Air Force is making poor investment choices not only in space, but ISR programs.
“The U.S. Air Force’s ambitious plan for fielding orbital and airborne reconnaissance systems has begun to come unhinged in the budget process from Space Radar, to missile warning to future radar planes, the whole mission area seems to be melting down,” Thompson said.

Somehow I don’t think we will be hearing about this in the upcoming elections, which is a shame because this administration doesn’t seem to really care about long term strategic thinking…


One Response

  1. Nothing surprising here. Our policy toward China has been schizophrenic for a while.
    It runs historically parallel to how Britain viewed us in the late 19th. century. The cause is really the same; just as Britain was paranoid about losing it’s status as the pre-eminent global hegemon bask then to us, so are we now afraid of losing it to them.
    World powers come and go, and we’ve been on the waning empire trajectory for a while now.

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