Country Risk

US intelligence chief concerned over Russian, Chinese pursuit of anti-satellite weapons

14 February 2018

US Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dan Coats has expressed concern over what he described as the ongoing pursuit by Russia and China to develop anti-satellite weapons.

“Both Russia and China continue to pursue anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons as a means to reduce US and allied military effectiveness,” said Coats on 13 February during a hearing of the US Senate Intelligence Committee, adding that these advanced weapons will probably reach initial operational capability “in the next few years”.

“Russia and China aim to have non-destructive and destructive counter-space weapons available for use during a potential future conflict,” Coats added. “We assess that, if a future conflict were to occur involving Russia or China, either country would justify attacks against US and allied satellites as necessary to offset any perceived US military advantage derived from military, civil, or commercial space systems.”

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