Space Set To Become War
Zone Warns US General


(Reuters) -- Space may become a war zone in the not-too-distant future, a senior US military officer said today, hours after China became only the third country after the US and the former Soviet Union to put a man in space.
"In my view it will not be long before space becomes a battleground," Lieutenant General Edward Anderson, deputy commander of US Northern Command, said in response to a question at a geospatial intelligence conference in New Orleans.
"Our military forces ... depend very, very heavily on space capabilities, and so that is a statement of the obvious to our potential threat, whoever that may be," he said.
"They can see that one of the ways that they can certainly diminish our capabilities will be to attack the space systems," said Anderson, who was formerly with US Space Command.
"Now how they do that and who that's going to be I can't tell you in this audience," he said at the unclassified conference.
The United States operates spy satellites in space
Earlier in the day, Rich Haver, former special assistant for intelligence to Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, said he expected battles in space within the next two decades.
"I believe space is the place we will fight in the next 20 years," said Haver, now vice president for intelligence strategy at Northrop Grumman Mission Systems.
"There are executive orders that say we don't want to do that. There's been a long-standing US policy to try to keep space a peaceful place, but ... we have in space assets absolutely essential to the conduct of our military operations, absolutely essential to our national security. They have been there for many years," he said.
"When the true history of the Cold War is written and all the classified items are finally unclassified, I believe that historians will note that it was in space that a significant degree of this country's ability to win the Cold War was embedded," Haver said.
Responding to a question about the implications of China sending a man into space this week, Haver said: "I think the Chinese are telling us they're there, and I think if we ever wind up in a confrontation again with any one of the major powers who has a space capability we will find space is a battleground."
Chinese "taikonaut" Yang Liwei touched down in the grasslands of Inner Mongolia early on Thursday local time after a 21-hour odyssey that took him around the world 14 times.
Haver added that he was not implying that China was the next great competitor or enemy of the United States.
The ability to launch devices into space is rapidly becoming a multinational activity, Haver said.




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