The United States Space Force Commander, General Chance Saltzman, has issued a grave warning regarding the looming peril of space warfare and its potential ramifications for humanity.
In an interview with Newsweek, General Saltzman voiced his deep concerns about the profound impact that a potential conflict in outer space could have, suggesting that it could alter the course of human history for centuries to come.
General Saltzman underscored the unique destructiveness of space warfare compared to conventional terrestrial conflicts. He highlighted that projectiles launched into space not only pose a threat to enemy assets but also introduce a concealed danger in the form of space debris. This space debris, once created, can linger in orbit for extended periods, posing a significant hazard to numerous spacecraft and satellites.
He articulated this issue by saying, “If, in times of war, you were to shoot down an aircraft, it falls out of the domain. If you sink a ship, it falls out of the sea lane. However, if you shoot down a satellite, it stays in orbit for hundreds of years, and that debris could cause problems, and is likely to cause problems, especially as it grows over the course of a war, for all of the orbits.”
Consequently, General Saltzman stressed that warfare in space could potentially disrupt the global commons for generations to come.
This is not the first time that concerns have arisen regarding the prospect of military actions in space. Satellites, which play an integral role in today’s technological infrastructure, have assumed unprecedented importance in military strategies. The destruction or interference with these satellites could lead to global repercussions.
General Saltzman disclosed that one of the strategic objectives of the United States in the event of a space conflict would be to deny the enemy the capability to target and disable American satellites. However, as he pointed out, such actions align with traditional warfare tactics and may not be sufficient to prevent the creation of hazardous space debris and its enduring consequences.
Many experts have expressed growing apprehension about the likelihood of space warfare becoming a tangible threat, particularly in light of ongoing global tensions and conflicts, such as Russia’s actions in Ukraine, which pose risks to global stability.