A top general with the United States Space Force says that other nations often threaten and even outright attack American satellites in space, as reported by the New York Post.
General David Thompson revealed the alarming developments in an op-ed with the Washington Post, published on Tuesday. In the article, Thompson says that “the threats are really growing and expanding every single day. And it’s really an evolution of activity that’s been happening for a long time.”
“We’re really at a point now where there’s a whole host of ways that our space systems can be threatened,” said Thompson, who currently serves as the Vice Chief of Space Operations. Among possible methods of attack that he described are radio frequency jammers, lasers, and cyber attacks.
One incident Thompson described involved a Russian satellite flying extremely close to an American “national security satellite” in 2019. The rival satellite came so close that authorities at the time believed it may have been preparing for an attack, before it ultimately backed off and tested a projectile instead.
“It maneuvered close, it maneuvered dangerously, it maneuvered threateningly so that they were coming close enough that there was a concern of collision,” Thompson recounted. “So clearly, the Russians were sending us a message.”
Thompson’s concerns are echoed by recent developments out of China, which recently launched a hypersonic missile with nuclear capabilities, sending the missile into low orbit. A Pentagon spokesperson said that this move would “only increase tensions in the region and beyond.”
While Thompson noted that the United States “are still the best in the world, clearly in terms of capability,” he added that rivals such as China and Russia are “catching up quickly,” and that “we should be concerned by the end of this decade if we don’t adapt.”