Lawmakers warn of growing threats to US satellites from adversaries

Bipartisan lawmakers on Tuesday warned of growing threats to U.S. satellite systems and the need to safeguard them from adversaries.

Speaking at The Hill’s “Future of Missile Defense” event, Rep. Jim CooperJim CooperOn The Trail: Census kicks off a wild redistricting cycle Biden emboldens establishment Democrats with ballot box wins Overnight Defense: Military justice overhaul included in defense bill | Pentagon watchdog to review security of 'nuclear football' | Pentagon carries out first air strike in Somalia under Biden MORE (D-Tenn.) said an attack on U.S. satellites would have far-reaching effects.

“We are so dependent on space for everything we do in our daily lives, we really have no idea. It's not just our TV, our internet, it's our ATMs, our banking, all forms of internet and communication,” said Cooper, chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces.

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“Increasingly, rival nations are looking at ways of taking out our satellites. Hitherto, the space assets we have have been unprotected and we didn’t fear for them at all. Now other nations are spending many billions of dollars to try to develop capabilities to destroy our satellites in that unfriendly domain,” Cooper told The Hill’s Steve Clemons.

Rep. Mike TurnerMichael Ray TurnerLawmakers, Biden official call for bipartisan action on opioid addiction The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Government shutdown fears increase as leaders dig in GOP hopefuls fight for Trump's favor in Ohio Senate race MORE (R-Ohio), the ranking member on the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, said the U.S. is taking steps to guard against any attempt to sabotage satellites.

“We’re working diligently to both strengthen our space assets and to respond to what our adversaries are doing. It's been widely publicized that Russia and China have both tested systems that would attack satellites and would destroy them. We need to make certain that we can sustain our space capabilities,” Turner said.

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Vice Adm. Jon Hill, director of the Missile Defense Agency, who also spoke at the event sponsored by Raytheon Missiles and Defense, said a strong presence in space is needed to provide tactical advantages.

“Space really is an answer and it does close the gap in a geographical sense of where the threats are coming from and may be traveling,” Hill said.

“Being able to look down from space and have a global view becomes critically important and that's recognized, not just within the Missile Defense Agency, but within the services as the future area for investment and we are moving smartly in that direction,” he said.