The US Air Force is preparing for a battle most don’t think about – one up in space. American officials are concerned about China’s anti-satellite capabilities. Officials including US Air Force General John Hyten believe China will soon be able to threaten US satellites in “every orbital regime that we operate in.” Those satellites “give the US military its edge on the battlefield and provide GPS signals that smartphones, ATMS, and power grids use.” It’s the job of the USAF to protect those vulnerable satellites.
The US and China – at least the Chinese embassy in Washington DC – say they are “committed to the peaceful use of outer space.” But General Hyten says the US must be prepared for conflict. “It’s a competition that I wish wasn’t occurring, but it is,” says Hyten. “If we’re threatened in space…we have the right of self-defense… and we’ll make sure we can execute that right.” Hyten’s interview with 60 Minutes correspondent David Martin will air April 26 at 7pm on CBS.