WASHINGTON — The US wants to prevent China and Russia from taking control of space and will look to allies for help, according to a new "Defense Space Strategy" unveiled by the Pentagon on Wednesday.
The strategy document was the first since President Donald Trump announced the creation of the new Space Force military arm in December.
The strategy stressed that the US would strive to maintain superiority in space, in particular protecting GPS satellites on which the military as well as the emergency services, transport and even financial services depend.
The Pentagon's strategy document stressed that both China and Russia viewed access to outer space as essential to national and military strategy.
Both countries, according to the document, consider space important for modern warfare and the use of weapons in space as a significant means of reducing the military effectiveness of the US and its allies in future wars.
The document also put forth the possibility of a nuclear attack in space. Although the absence of atmosphere would prevent combustion, the detonation of a nuclear weapon would cause a powerful electromagnetic charge that would destroy the electric circuits of all satellites around it, Stephen Kitay, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for space policy, told reporters.
"That is a threat that we have to potentially be prepared for," he added.
The US, which is reviving its space exploration program, recently celebrated its first crewed spacecraft flight in nearly a decade, sending two astronauts to the International Space Station in a privately-built capsule.
The strategy document emphasised that the US would "promote burden-sharing with our allies and partners."
The United States' closest intelligence allies, the "Five Eyes" group (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Britain and the US), have been cooperating since 2014 within the Combined Space Operations initiative. France and Germany joined them in February. — AFP