Incoming Space Force chief says orbit is a ‘war-fighting domain,’ labels China the top adversary

By | September 13, 2022

Space is a “war-fighting domain” and argued that China is America’s greatest threat in the region, President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Space Force said Tuesday.

Lt. Gen. Bradley Saltzman appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee as part of his nomination process Tuesday. Senators pressed him on what threats Space Force faced and what his goals were for the branch moving forward.

“The most immediate threat, in my opinion, is the pace with which our strategic challengers, first and foremost, the Chinese, are aggressively pursuing capabilities that can disrupt, degrade and ultimately even destroy our satellite capabilities and disrupt our ground infrastructure,” Saltzman told lawmakers.

“It is one of my earliest priorities to make sure that we’re on track to build and field effective capabilities and then train the guardians to operate in a contested domain so that we can counter this activity by our strategic competitors,” he added.

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Sen. Tom Cotton, R-AR, later pressed Saltzman on whether he believed space was itself a war-fighting domain rather than a domain where the U.S. placed assets that assist warfare in other domains like air, land and sea.

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“You mean that space itself could be a war-fighting domain, correct?” Cotton asked.

“I do,” Saltzman responded.

“OK, so the timeless principles of war that have stood the test of time from Alexander to Washington to Napoleon to Grant would apply in space just like they apply here on Earth. Right?” Cotton pressed.

“I agree,” Saltzman confirmed.

Space Force is the newest branch of the U.S. military, being founded under former President Donald Trump in 2019.