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Biden’s Dangerous Unilateral Disarmament on Satellite Warfare

Posted on Monday, June 13, 2022
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by Andrew Abbott
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51 Comments
Biden-foreign-affairs

AMAC Exclusive – By Andrew Abbott

Amid Russia’s continued military invasion of Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has praised Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite network for providing an essential “lifeline” to embattled citizens. While horrific scenes of violence on the ground have captured most of the headlines, the conflict has also underscored the vital importance of satellite technology to a country’s security in the 21st century. Yet even as America’s adversaries grow more aggressive in the development of space-based and anti-satellite weaponry, the Biden administration may now be actively undermining the ability of the United States to respond to those threats.

Putin’s attempt to subjugate Ukraine has been based on psychological as much as military methods, with the Russian leader continuing to insist that the invasion is a pre-emptive strike to rid Ukraine of “Nazism.” Hoping to take advantage of a chaotic environment inside the country, the Russian propaganda machine has been working in overdrive to convince the Ukrainian people that their struggle for freedom is hopeless. As Zelenskyy told Wired, the Ukrainian government has often “completely lost communication” with cities surrounded by Russian invaders, who have “told them that Ukraine doesn’t exist anymore, and some people even began to believe it.”

This situation underscores the importance of Musk’s Starlink, a privately-owned network of internet satellites that provides fast and reliable connectivity from anywhere. While the system is still in its infancy for most of the world, Musk has accelerated deployment of receiving terminals to Ukraine, so that embattled residents can remain connected even as the Russian army severs traditional lines of communication. This has in large part neutralized the Russian disinformation campaign and allowed the rest of the world to remain plugged in to the details of the conflict, helping keep global pressure up on Russia to call off its attack.

While Starlink was designed for civilian use, its deployment in Ukraine has revealed just how powerful a tool satellites can be in great power competition – and raised fresh fears among U.S. leaders about the security of America’s own satellite arsenal.

For decades, countries have been researching the potential of anti-satellite weapons—these range from land-based “direct ascent” missiles to actual armed and crewed spacecraft. In 1985, the United States destroyed an orbiting satellite with a missile launched from an F-15 fighter jet. In 2007, the Chinese alarmed American military experts by destroying a satellite with a projectile launched from a land-based missile.

The potential catastrophic effects of satellite warfare were fully revealed just last year when the Russian Federation also destroyed a satellite with a land-based missile. The targeted satellite was obliterated into a “space debris cloud” that threatened to damage the International Space Station and several communication satellites. While the crisis was ultimately averted, the debris cloud continues to circle the planet and will do so for years, if not decades.

There is a fear in the scientific community that if such a cloud destroys other satellites, those clouds will, in turn, become debris clouds of their own. The cascading wave of destruction could knock out critical satellites and even make space travel impossible, a situation referred to as Kessler Syndrome. The effect was dramatized in the 2013 blockbuster film Gravity.

The international community quickly condemned the Russian test and excoriated the Russian Federation for even attempting it. International think tanks and opinion leaders then promptly called for a complete ban on all anti-satellite weapons testing. In April of this year President Biden followed suit. In a speech at the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, Vice President Kamala Harris announced that the U.S. would self-impose a ban on all “Direct Ascent Anti-Satellite” (ASAT) testing, stating that “tests are dangerous, and we will not conduct them,” while calling nations who continue such tests “reckless and irresponsible.”

Yet while the U.S. is abstaining from any new testing, American adversaries have made no similar pledge. Six months before Harris’ announcement, Chinese researchers announced that “they have built and tested an anti-satellite robotic device that can place a small pack of explosives into a probe’s exhaust nozzle.” The explosives could theoretically be planted in satellites and detonated at a precise time to cause maximum damage to either the satellite system or surrounding satellites. That same month, the Chinese military also announced that they had developed ASAT weapons that could “melt” enemy satellites with lasers and even capture them in orbit.

The Chinese Communist Party has a long history of embellishing claims regarding its technical prowess. Yet, even if these weapons are a fraction as capable as the Chinese claim, this could place the Chinese years ahead of America in terms of satellite technology. With the Biden-Harris ban on new testing, the U.S. will likely only fall further and further behind.

Whether a treaty to limit anti-satellite weapons would make sense or not, there should be no question that unilateral disarmament is risky and foolish in the extreme.

Isolating and controlling the flow of information to a battlefield is a critical objective in any offensive military operation. As Zelenskyy noted, Russian propaganda was so effective that some Ukrainians were successfully convinced that their nation no longer existed and more likely would have been if not for Starlink.

In future great power conflicts, space will undoubtedly be a key battleground, and perhaps even the centerpiece of any offensive strategy. President Biden – and all future American leaders – would be wise to recognize as much, and stop ceding American leadership in technology that could give the United States an edge over our adversaries.

Andrew Abbott is the pen name of a writer and public affairs consultant with over a decade of experience in DC at the intersection of politics and culture.           

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Bill on the Hill
Bill on the Hill
1 year ago

Currently with China the manufacturer of the world over, I don’t see Biden doing anything to aggravate the CCP of China, including laser technology that is capable of taking out our own satellites…
As we all should know by now, both JRB & his son Hunter stand to rake in millions of dollars through China & Ukraine deals for the foreseeable future…
2.5 years more of a cognitively impaired potus that thinks he is running the show, when in fact he is NOT…This is why they will keep him around as long as possible, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. is the gift that keeps on giving looking at it from a Democrat’s perspective…
Bill… :~)

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
1 year ago

To give Russia & China a edge

Rik
Rik
1 year ago

Comrade President Jackass Joe “Lyin” Biden WILL GO DOWN IN AMERICAN HISTORY AS THE WORST PRESIDENT EVER!!!

William C Smith
William C Smith
1 year ago

Judas Goat joe is doing everything he can to ensure America actually becomes the second rate nation Obummer always claimed we were. Susan Rice, in the background, helping things along.

Phyl
Phyl
1 year ago

Bozo joe is an arrogant, narcissistic, selfish, communist creep. If there’s ever another president worst than he, all I can say is God help us.

Walt Miller
Walt Miller
1 year ago

Biden is not our President. He is just a puppet sitting in the position.

PaulE
PaulE
1 year ago

Notice that the solution to providing communications access to Ukraine during the current Russian invasion came from the private sector, Elon Musk, not the U.S. government or any of its allies. The same can be said for rescuing a lot of American left behind by the Biden administration in Afghanistan to die. Private sector entities, with zero support from the U.S. State Department or most of outr allies, risked their own lives to extract Americans trapped behind enemy lines.

Unfortunately, both examples are representative of where most western governments have deteriorated to today. The private sector looks at a problem and says “What can I do to fix this?” and then goes about trying to get the job done. Governments today look at a problem and call a series of meetings, where the objective seems to be “What can we do to avoid having to do anything to address this problem?”

It is NOT surprising that, once again, the United States being led by weak, incompetent and frankly people very sympathetic to both socialism and communism would choose to unilaterally disarm the United States in yet another area that jeopardizes the national security of this nation. It is who the Democrat Party has been for decades. Carter banned neutron weapons, because at the time they would have given the United States an overwhelming edge over both the Soviet Union and China. Thus allowing time for both the Soviet Union and China to both develop their own version and add them to their arsenals. Bill Clinton gave missile guidance technology to China to fix the massive problem the Chinese had at the time of their ICBMs being wildly inaccurate. Thus he helped the Chinese to have a very credible nuclear threat directly against the United States and the rest of the world. Obama mothballed both our research and actual limited means to protect U.S. satellites in low earth orbit from both Russia and China. All while both Russia and China carried out more tests in earth orbit to perfect their own anti-satellite weapons systems. So it is NOT surprising that our answer to the growing threat of anti-satellite weapons being potentially directed against U.S. assets in orbit is to unilaterally disarm and ignore the problem. Yeah, that will strike fear into the hearts of Putin and Xi…NOT!!!!

Kyle Buy you some guns,and learn how to shoot
Kyle Buy you some guns,and learn how to shoot
1 year ago

WE need a good rumor to go around saying Biden dosen’t exist anymore.

D G
D G
1 year ago

I noticed that Vice President Harris only mentioned direct ascent anti-satellite weapons in her announcement. I think that this is probably fine, since it doesn’t rule out deploying air or space-based weapons. Years ago, there were international agreements in place in which countries pledged not to deploy space-based weapons. Now I’m afraid that those treaties are out the window, and have been for some time. This announcement gives the appearance that the USA still condemns the deployment of anti-satellite weapons, while still retaining the capability to develop better technology.

oren
oren
1 year ago

Enough!! This administration is traitorous. They are actively weakening this country with intent of positioning us for an attack. Think Pearl Harbor on steroids. It’s time to get the Democrats out of D.C. and we may not be able to wait on another rigged election. We cannot afford Joe Biden and his administration any longer. The same for the opposition in Congress. They are stumbling blocks to progress. Also, we already have numerous organizations and pastors telling us to prepare for a major world wide famine which I think is abetted by Biden and his crowd plus the trash who attended the Davos economic conference (a cover for the globalists). Folks, the progressives, what an oxymoron, already have this country on her knees. This will offer the opportunity to put the bullet in her head.

Marie Langley
Marie Langley
1 year ago

Look what Biden has done in just the short time he has been in office. Just think what he is going to do in the next 2 years to destroy this country. GOD HELP US ALL!!!!!!!
I’m going to keep saying it, shame on all you Americans who voted for this loser!!!!!!! I hope you can sleep at night.

Richard C..
Richard C..
1 year ago

Once again the Biden administration is weakening America, all while strengthening our enemies.

oren
oren
1 year ago

Not gonna happen.

Patty
Patty
1 year ago

Is there anyone in this current administration who understands anything? All we have been seeing is one brain dead thing after another. Whether abandoning our citizens in Afghanistan or stopping oil exploration, drilling, etc. to the president who goes on a talk show and makes the bizarre comment about sending his political opponents to jail! Now, he claims Republicans don’t play by the rules…really? But to just “stop” satellite technology is absurd. So we all sit by, twiddling our thumbs, while this one man tries to bring our great country to it’s knees.

MIKE FAILLA
MIKE FAILLA
1 year ago

Hard times create strong men
Strong men create good times.
Good times create weak men.
Weak men create hard times.

Deploreable Sam
Deploreable Sam
1 year ago

Absolutely everything this clown show administration does is not only wrong, it is 180 degrees, diametrically opposed to right (correct).
I could go on for days here but y’all know the score.
fjb etc etc

joe mchugh
joe mchugh
1 year ago

Whoa! Joe Biden made another wrong decision! ……….. Let me show you my surprised face.

JEFFREY JONES
JEFFREY JONES
1 year ago

SAVE THE U.S.A…..arrest the whole biden administration and send them to GITMO for punishment!!!…its time for a new civil war against the leftie loonies!!,,,,,,

tika
tika
1 year ago

some dems are speaking up only because of the election; lock up leaders for sedition, etc

Joseph Michael Loglisci
Joseph Michael Loglisci
1 year ago

“Every dog has it’s day”, and that Jackal in the oval office will get his!

Texas Resister 64
Texas Resister 64
1 year ago

Is there any issue on which the Biden admin actually is doing something to benefit the American people?

Jeanine
Jeanine
1 year ago

Among the, likely millions, of violations by Badin (in addition to those of all far left DemonRats) these violations of Treason are some of the greatest.
This is the simple basic U.S. Code definition for Treason:

18 U.S. Code § 2381 – Treason Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

Carma
Carma
1 year ago

Yet another thing President Donal Trump, our best president ever, was correct about. He formed a new military division called Space Force. Have we heard a peep about it since the pseudo president entered the WH? NO! I believe Biden and cohorts/handlers are purposefully destroying our nation.

Garye
Garye
1 year ago

The marxist democrat party with a disconnected joebama and mindless camela to wander aimlessly through insignificant self made messes , continues to weaken and destroy America from within.
Make no mistake, the democrat party wants Our Country, Constitution, History completely destroyed and re-made in their whacko progressive,apolegetic,self serving madness!
The ONLY way is to DEFEAT them OVERWHELMINGLY, embarras the democrat party to non-relevance in 2022, 2024 to save America.
ANY/ALL democrats, rinos, those who side with the hateful democrats on any policy must GO.
THROW THEM OUT!
The 20 traitor republicans who turned on American Citizens by supporting the attack on our second ammendment- MUST GO!
ALL marxist democrat party politicians and rings- THROW THEM OUT

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