Pentagon Starts Space War Training: Russia Threatens to Respond

June 3rd, 2005 - by admin

Defense / Associated Press – 2005-06-03 23:40:28

Pentagon Starts Space War Training

Just in case you were wondering whether or not the Pentagon was really serious about knocking other countries’ satellites out of orbit, comes this item from C4ISR Journal. The Defense Department, it seems, has “launched a series of exercises designed to sharpen its understanding and management of counter-satellite operations.”

The three-year Joint Space Control Operations-Negation (JSCO-N) program will help the Pentagon figure out which satellite-killers to buy, and determine which procedures to follow when knocking the orbiters out.

According to a report from the Pentagon’s testing and evaluation office, the Defense Department wants to “target an adversary’s space capability by using a variety of permanent and/or reversible means to achieve five possible effects: deception, disruption, denial, degradation and destruction…”

“The JSCO-N effort includes three ‘field tests,'” C4ISR Journal‘s Jeremy Singer notes. “The first of those, Terminal Fury 05, was scheduled to take place in December, according to the report. It was to be followed by Terminal Fury 06 and .”

Not surprisingly, the Pentagon refused to give details on the exercises. But, as Singer observes, “the Air Force has for at least the past few years been working on systems for neutralizing enemy satellite capabilities. The service announced in October 2004 that one such system, designed to disrupt satellite radio-transmissions, is now being fielded.”

In 2003, the Air Force released its Transformation Flight Plan, which spelled out a number of anti-orbiter weapons, including “ground-based lasers, air-launched missiles and space-based radio frequency transmitters capable of disrupting or destroying other satellites.”

On the other hand, Defense Daily has this…

Weapons in Space? Not this year, it seems, or a least not part of the Missile Defense Agency’s budget. The Missile Defense Agency is not funding any new space-based programs in the FY ’06 defense-spending request, although the controversial Near Field Infrared Experiment, NFIRE, remains in the budget. “Space-based is not part of this budget,” says a senior Pentagon official.

The “debate” on whether to develop a space-based capability has not yet taken place, according to the official. Another thing you won’t see is a follow-on on to Russian American Observational Satellite program, or RAMOS, which was “defunded” in the FY ’05 budget.

AND MORE: “It is true that the space-based test bed was delayed by two years, but that decision is accompanied with an increase in classified funding for futuristic missile defense programs from $ 160 M to $ 350 M,” the Arms Control Wonk notes. “That’s a lot of secret money.”

Russia Against ‘Militarization of Space’
Steve Gutterman / Associated Press

(June 2, 2005) — Taking aim at the United States, Russia’s defense minister Thursday threatened retaliatory steps if any country puts weapons in space and said Moscow won’t negotiate controls over tactical nuclear arms with nations that deploy them abroad, Russian media reported.

While he mentioned no country by name, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov’s comments reflected persistent wariness over US intentions, despite arms control deals and increased cooperation between the Cold War foes since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

“Russia’s position on this question has not changed for decades: We are categorically against the militarization of space,” the Interfax news agency quoted Ivanov as saying during a visit to the Baikonur space facility in Kazakhstan.

“If some state begins to realize such plans, then we doubtless will take adequate retaliatory measures,” ITAR-Tass quoted Ivanov as saying.

The comments came as the Bush administration reviews the US space policy doctrine. White House spokesman Scott McClellan said last month the policy review was not considering the militarization of space. But he said US satellites must be protected against new threats that he said have emerged since Washington’s space doctrine was last reviewed in 1996.

Moscow’s concerns about space-based weapons go back to the Soviet-era space race and President Ronald Reagan’s 1980s plans for a “Star Wars” missile defense system.

In 2002, after the United States withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, China and Russia submitted a proposal for a new ban on weapons in outer space.

But the United States has said it sees no need for any new space arms control agreements. It is party to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which prohibits stationing weapons of mass destruction in space.

Ivanov’s comment about negotiating controls over tactical nuclear weapons was also a clear reference to the United States, which has such arms in Europe.

“We are prepared to start talks about tactical nuclear weapons only when all countries possessing them keep these weapons on their own territory,” Interfax and ITAR-Tass quoted Ivanov as saying. “Russia stores its tactical nuclear weapons on its own territory, which cannot be said about other countries.”

The news agencies said Ivanov was responding to calls by former Sen. Sam Nunn for a Russian-American agreement providing for accountability of each other’s tactical nuclear stockpiles, which have not been addressed by a series of treaties reducing strategic nuclear arms.

Nunn, an architect of a major program to secure and destroy nuclear weapons and materials in the former Soviet Union, has called for “transparent accountability” of tactical weapons as a safeguard against nuclear terrorism.

Russia wants to keep its tactical nuclear weapons ˜ and to keep their number secret ˜ to compensate for inferiority in conventional weapons, said Alexander Pikayev, a nuclear expert with the Committee of Scientists for Global Security.

The Bush administration has not publicly called for an agreement on accountability and control over tactical nuclear weapons, which do not threaten US territory, Pikayev said.

However, a hawkish former top Russian military official, Col.-Gen. Leonid Ivashov, said that Washington had tried unsuccessfully to put the issue on the agenda of talks three times in the past, Interfax reported.

Ivashov spoke out strongly against any negotiations on tactical nuclear weapons, saying information about them “is perhaps the only military secret that we have,” Interfax reported.

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