SecDef briefed on navy area packages, threats to satellites

DoD spokesman John Kirby: “Secretary Austin was happy to obtain a briefing in regards to the area area.”

WASHINGTON — Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin final week obtained an in depth briefing on DoD area packages and nationwide safety threats within the area area. This was Austin’s first high-level briefing on area points since taking workplace. 

“Secretary Austin was happy to obtain a briefing in regards to the area area,” Protection Division spokesman John Kirby stated in an announcement to SpaceNews.

Kirby stated he couldn’t touch upon the precise issues mentioned on the March 25 assembly however famous that Austin “understands the significance of this area to our nationwide safety.”

Austin’s briefing was led by John Hill, who’s performing the duties of assistant secretary of protection for area coverage. In attendance — some in particular person and a few through video teleconference — have been senior officers from the U.S. House Power, U.S. House Command and the Nationwide Reconnaissance Workplace. 

The briefing was meant to deliver Austin updated on area packages, the construction of the nationwide safety area enterprise and the challenges the USA faces within the area area, based on a number of sources.

The topic of China’s technological advances and area ambitions additionally have been mentioned, these sources stated. 

The Biden administration has made technological competitors with China a cornerstone challenge that can drive investments and coverage choices. Austin this month stood up a “China activity pressure” of senior officers who will probably be offering suggestions on methods to meet the China problem. 

In written testimony to the Senate Armed Companies Committee for his affirmation listening to, Austin famous that the “strategic atmosphere continues to evolve quickly, particularly because it applies to area.” He stated as protection secretary he would assist a nationwide protection technique that addresses the “continued development of adversary area and counterspace capabilities.” Chinese language and Russian area actions, Austin added, “current critical and rising threats to U.S. nationwide safety pursuits.”

Earlier this month Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveled to the Indo-Pacific area the place U.S. allies Japan and South Korea are rising more and more involved about China’s expansive maritime claims in addition to its technological advances in area and different areas. 

Blinken stated in a speech final month that United States ought to “interact all nations, together with Russia and China, on creating requirements and norms of accountable conduct in outer area.”

U.S. navy commanders within the Indo-Pacific area have known as for higher investments in superior applied sciences, together with area methods, to discourage and counter China. Commanders fear about Chinese language capabilities to disrupt U.S. satellites like GPS and methods that present crucial communications providers. 

As he prepares to submit his first funds request to Congress, Austin should stability combatant commanders’ requests for extra assets in opposition to fiscal pressures and calls to cut back navy spending.

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