The Assassin’s Mace: Motivations Driving China’s Space Initiatives

  • June 15, 2018
  • Lieutenant Colonel Jason E. Burkett

US military might and competitive advantage is built upon space-based technology. However, the space domain is becoming increasingly congested, contested, and competitive. China, of particular concern, has invested heavily in capabilities to deny or degrade the US’s ability to leverage these technologies, and presently has the ability to attack crucial US space platforms resident in all levels of Earth’s orbit. As a result of rising geopolitical tensions, and China’s lacking parity in military might, China views the space domain as presenting opportunity to equalize the strategic battlefield. Further, the US presently lacks the coherent whole of government space strategy, which is necessary to address this issue. This must change. Once developed, the US will need to play an active role in bringing the international community together to develop clearly defined and binding space protections. Failure to do so will result in intensified hostility in space, and increased likelihood of conflict