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Defense intelligence chief paints bleak picture of the space battlefield

RESTON, Va. ? The director of the Defense Intelligence Agency said it?s not a matter of if, but when anti-satellite weapons developed by China and Russia take aim at U.S. spacecraft.

?These capabilities exist now,? Army Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said Nov. 7 at the CyberSat 2019 conference.

In a keynote speech to a large crowd of space industry executives, Ashley ran through a list of capabilities ? including surface-to-air missiles, lasers, electronic jammers, co-orbital maneuvering satellites and malware ? that Russia and China have developed and continue to advance in order to target U.S. satellites and ground control systems in a future conflict.

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Building The Air Force We Need To Meet Chinese And Russian Threats

In January, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) released its unclassified assessment of China?s military capabilities, with the telling subtitle: ?Modernizing a Force to Fight and Win.? As DIA director Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley explained: ?China is building a robust, lethal force with capabilities spanning the air, maritime, space and information domains which will enable China to impose its will in the region.? He went on to emphasize: ??the PLA [People?s Liberation Army] is on the verge of fielding some of the most modern weapons systems in the world. In some areas, it already leads the world.?

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