War is coming to outer space, and the Pentagon warns it is not yet ready, following years of underinvesting while the military focused on a host of threats on Earth.
Russia and China are years ahead of the United States in developing the means to destroy or disable satellites that the U.S. military depends on for everything from gathering intelligence to guiding precision bombs, missiles and drones.
Now the Pentagon is trying to catch up — pouring billions more dollars into hardening its defenses against anti-satellite weapons, training troops to operate in the event their space lifeline is cut, and honing ways to retaliate against a new form of combat that experts warn could affect millions of people, cause untold collateral damage and spread to battlefields on Earth.
“We are now approaching a point where ‘Star Wars’ is not just a movie,” said Steve Isakowitz, CEO of The Aerospace Corp., a government-funded think tank that serves as the military’s leading adviser on space.
He said the U.S. can no longer afford to take its dominance for granted.