US military sees looming China threat to satellites
China may be just three years away from being able to disrupt
US militarysatellites in a regional conflict, a senior US military leader said Tuesday, citing a recent anti-satellite test and other advances.
The warning came amid calls at a conference in Alabama for intensified efforts to ensure US "space superiority" in the wake of China's shoot down January 11 of one of its own satellites with a ballistic missile.
"It is not inconceivable that within about three years we can be challenged at a near peer level in a region," said Lieutenant General Kevin Campbell, head of the US Army's Space and Missile Defense Command.
"That means taking out a number of communications capabilities over a theater of war," he added in a speech to an audience of defense contractors in Huntsville, Alabama.
Campbell later told reporters that while a number of countries have some capabilities to interfere with satellite communications, China is the country he is most worried about.
Its anti-satellite test in January was a clear demonstration of its ability to destroy an orbiting satellite, he said.
But its development of jamming capabilities and advances in computer network attack point to a comprehensive approach to denying the US military access to space in a conflict, he said.
"It starts to add up that they'll have multi-dimensional capabilities to attack various systems that are in orbit today," he said.
"A lot of countries have pieces of what I've described, but I would say I'm more concerned about China than any of them," he said.
Satellites are vital to US military operations, enabling the flow of torrents of communications, imagery, and navigational data for the kind of high tech precision warfare that the United States excels at.
But US reliance on satellites also has created vulnerabilities that though long understood had not taken concrete form until the Chinese test.
Campbell said it has spurred the military to think about how to counter the threat, including ways to track and surveil objects in space to know what they are up to.
He said his command has devised a "space alert" system patterned on "air alerts" that would key the military's responses to a threat to a friendly satellite.
The military also is thinking about offensive counter-measures, he said.
"I'm not free to talk about specifics, but the bottom line is we're thinking about and taking steps to ensure we have a capability... that shows we have freedom of action in space," he said.
Last Friday morning, Colonel John R. Fellows watched from his Honolulu hotel room as what appeared to be a giant golf ball pulled into Pearl Harbor. The white dome, encasing the powerful military radar of which Fellows is in charge, was returning from a week at sea. "It just came in while I was sitting here," said Fellows, who works for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA). The Sea-Based X-Band radar was, you could say, right on time.
Or, you could say it was about two years late. Designed to keep an eye out for rogue missiles flying toward the United States, the SBX had been scheduled to report for duty in Alaska in early 2006, but a series of structural repairs and upgrades have kept it in warmer waters. For over a year, the nine-story radar that sits atop a self-propelled Norwegian oil platform has been coming and going from Pearl Harbor for fixes and tests — a delay critics see as symptomatic of an agency under pressure to deliver a national missile defense system that is still more fiction than fact.
The SBX certainly looks like something out of a 1960s precursor to Transformers, its round, white head ready to make a mechanical turn, sprout legs and stand up, streaming seawater and begin terrorizing the good people of Honolulu. But the 280-foot high, $900 million gizmo will soon be scanning the horizon for enemy threats, joining the growing suite of land-, sea- and space-based technologies that the MDA claims is the nation's first functional national missile defense system. Since President Ronald Reagan initiated his Star Wars program, about $100 billion has been spent on U.S. missile defense. We don't have an invisible shield protecting us, but we do have two ground-based interceptor batteries in California and Alaska aimed roughly in the direction of North Korea, and plans to build more in central Europe aimed at Iran (cont..)
Russian nuclear bombers hold exercises over North Pole
MOSCOW: Russian strategic bombers on Tuesday began five days of exercises over the North Pole, marking the latest in a series of displays of Moscow's military muscle. The nuclear-capable bombers will practice firing cruise missiles, navigation in the polar region and aerial refuelling manoeuvres, the Russian air force said in a statement. The exercises come barely a week after Russian strategic Tu-95 bombers flew over the Pacific to within a few hundred kilometres (miles) of the US military base on the island of Guam - and, according to a Russian general, exchanged grins with US fighter pilots sent to intercept. They also follow recent attempts by Moscow to bolster Russia's territorial claims in the Arctic region. One Russian air force officer, who asked not to be identified, told agencies he expected US interceptors would once again make their presence felt during this week's exercises. (cont..)
Icelandic defense exercise kicks off
/14/2007 - KEFLAVIK, Iceland (AFPN) -- Leaders from the United States and Iceland joined NATO partners Aug. 13 to kick off an exercise to demonstrate U.S. commitment to the 1951 bilateral U.S.-Iceland defense agreement and reinvigorate air defense command and control capabilities of joint and coalition forces in Iceland. Exercise Northern Viking 2007 provides a basis for continued U.S. presence and points out the critical nature of the Icelandic Air Defense System to NATO's control and security of air space, said Gen. William T. Hobbins, U.S. Air Forces in Europe commander. "This exercise is an integral part of the efforts by the United States and other NATO allies to work with Iceland to modernize its defense strategy to meet the threats of the 21st century," said General Hobbins.
Emergency Drill Tests Topeka Hospitals
Dozens of people injured by a suicide bomber -- and possibly contaminated by radiation.
That was the scenario area hospitals ran through today in a mock drill.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment wanted to see if Topeka hospitals could take in patients after a potential radiological disaster.
The call goes out, and emergency workers prepare to save the lives of the injured.
Thankfully, the disaster was just a drill, The blood and bruises, just make-up.
The victims, just volunteer actors -- prepared with a script.
In this scenario, a radical activist detonated a "dirty" bomb in a state office building.
And the hospitals had to contain the radioactivity before being able to treat patients. Everyone gets cleaned off.
Nothing is like the real thing.
Emergency drill planned at post office
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