(Delivered on January 29,
On January 11, the Chinese destroyed one of their aging weather
satellites with a missile-launched interceptor. That's the
first problem. The second problem, and the one that I'll focus on
today, is what we should do about it.
I'll start by describing how critical satellites are to the
United States and how adversaries can threaten our access to them.
I'll explain why arms control, the preferred response of many to
these threats, is ineffective, unenforceable, and undesirable.
And I'll propose that we commit ourselves to realspace security and
develop the means to assure our freedom of action in
First, security in space is a vital national interest. The loss
of access to space would threaten the very stability of our
Satellites enable our ATMs and our financial markets; they
help first responders and form the backbone of our next-generation
air traffic control system; they allow us to gather intelligence on
foreign developments and to influence them through satellite
radio and TV transmissions.
More important, satellites underpin our military superiority.
Our troops rely on satellites for reconnaissance,
communications, navigation, and other functions. Almost every
new military platform in development today is more
satellite-dependent than the system it is replacing. None of our
military operations--conventional, strategic, or missile
defense-- can function without space components.
Second, unfortunately, the threat to our space security is real
and growing. The threat can take many forms. A report by the U.S.
Space Commission staff identifies at least 11 distinct
categories of anti-satellite attack: from ground segment attack or
sabotage to kinetic kill to nuclear ASATs, particle beam weapons,
and electronic attack.
The space threat posed by China is multifaceted. The "painting"
in September of a U.S. satellite by a ground-based laser shows that
the Chinese program includes a broad range of capabilities, from
kinetic kill to directed energy. The January 11 test also
shows China's ability to hit targets in Low-Earth Orbit (LEO),
where most American reconnaissance assets are deployed. But reports
suggest that the Chinese also seek the ability to attack satellites
in Medium- and High-Earth Orbit, such as GPS.
Other nations also may have ASAT capabilities. We recall that
the Soviet Union had an advanced ASAT program during the Cold War,
which presumably still exists in some form. News reports
suggest that Iran may soon launch a satellite, meaning that a
crude ASAT capability could be within their reach shortly. Any
nation with missile-launched nuclear weapons, including Pakistan,
India, and potentially North Korea, could destroy satellites by
setting off a High Electromagnetic Pulse (HEMP).
Troubling Lapses in Understanding
It is especially troubling that key policymakers seem oblivious
to the nature and the urgency of this threat. My colleague Joe
Biden, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said of
the Chinese test: "I don't think we should be overly worried about
this at this point. We have ways to deal with that ability." As an
eight-year member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I can tell
you that this is not a responsible or an accurate statement.
Moreover, capabilities that might help defend against
missile-launched ASATs, such as boost-phase missile defense based
in space, are always opposed vigorously by Senator Biden and a
majority of his Democratic colleagues.
Perhaps even more troubling, our own State Department seems to
be missing the point. A department spokesperson, Tom Casey, said
last Friday: "We know the Chinese conducted this test. We
certainly want to hear from them in a more detailed way exactly
what their intentions are.... We don't want to see a situation
where there is any militarization of space." I think it's worth
parsing this statement in some depth to show the level of
confusion in our government.
In the first place, why do we need to hear from the Chinese
exactly what their intentions are? What intention could possibly be
behind the test save for the capability to blow up satellites in
space? Would the State Department believe any alternative
explanation if it were given to it? Why did the State
Department spokesman say our goal was to avoid any
militarization of space? If a missile like that flying in space is
militarization of space, there are at least nine or 10 other
nations that already have capability now.
And of course, as we know, space is thoroughly militarized and
only will become more so in the future. In fact, it has been
militarized, one can even say weaponized, since the first V-2 flew
through space on its way to targets in the United Kingdom in World
Arms Control Fallacies
To make their case that we must prevent weaponization of
space, arms controllers insist on making a number of
distinctions that simply fall apart under close scrutiny.
First, they distinguish between weapons based in
space--so-called satellite weapons--and weapons that transit
through space, such as ICBMs. ICBMs can take less than two minutes
to exit the atmosphere and spend most of their flight time in
space. Why doesn't their flight through space result in
They distinguish between weapons guided by satellites and those
released from satellites. In war, satellites can identify a target
through overhead imagery, process communications about that target
between military decision makers, and then guide a bomb precisely
enough to destroy the target with one shot. Would it really be that
big a step if the projectile itself were also launched from space?
There is no practical difference, and I'd venture to say that the
person on the receiving end wouldn't see a distinction either.
They distinguish between offensive and defensive ASAT
technology. Programs like Space Situational Awareness and so-called
Defensive Counterspace often receive less criticism because they
are not "weaponizing" space, but situational awareness of what is
in space is crucial both for avoiding attacks and for launching
them. Likewise, other than simply "hardening" a satellite,
other "defensive" measures can also provide some offensive
ASAT capability: for example, giving it an electronic jamming
capability, or making it more mobile, or giving it a small
projectile gun that can destroy an enemy's satellite that gets too
The distinctions made by the opponents of space security are
simply untenable. We live in a world where space is already
militarized, and it is impossible to prevent weapons from
access to space.
Third, arms control is not the path to security or stability.
Arms control advocates naturally use the Chinese test to advance
their agenda. Just to cite one, my colleague, Ed Markey of
Massachusetts, said: "American satellites are the soft underbelly
of our national security, and it is urgent that President Bush move
to guarantee their protection by initiating an international
agreement to ban the development, testing, and deployment of
space weapons and anti-satellite systems."
Advocates of such arms control put far too much stock in China's
public statements that it has nothing but peaceful intentions
and wants to avoid an arms race in space. A review of Chinese
military doctrine and numerous writings makes it clear: China does
not believe that space can, or should, be free of military
capabilities. China believes that it must develop space weapons for
its own security, specifically in preparation for a possible
conflict with the U.S. over Taiwan.
China is also concerned that its nuclear deterrent is at risk of
being degraded by improving U.S. missile defense capabilities.
By having the ability to destroy the satellites that tie our
ballistic missile defense system together, China hopes to seriously
degrade its effectiveness as a deterrent.
But even if arms control advocates are correct that the Chinese
earnestly want to negotiate an arms control treaty for space, we
should be highly skeptical of an arms control-first approach.
As I already noted, space has long been militarized. Nations will
neither un-invent capabilities nor be able to stop future
Attempts to "rebottle the genie" through treaties have a dismal
history. The 1899 Hague Convention, for example, tried to keep the
air free from weapons by banning the "launching of projectiles and
explosives from balloons." That effort failed because
the strategic advantages of operating in the air overwhelmed
the moral arguments against doing so.
In 1928, the world even tried to ban war altogether under
the Kellogg-Briand Pact, as you might recall. The pact's
signatories included every major belligerent of the Second World
War, which began 11 years later.
Even the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, or NPT, has proven
incapable of preventing nations such as Iraq, Iran, and North Korea
of walking up to, and over, the nuclear brink. If anything, the
treaty has encouraged responsible nations to sit by
complacently while their more ambitious or ruthless neighbors
go nuclear. A space weapons ban would likely have the same
Another important argument here is that arms control would
itself be dangerous. During negotiations, advocates would
argue that we can't take any steps to defend ourselves. All the
while, China will continue to develop its programs. This is a
paradox that I will discuss in more detail later.
Once signed, the treaty could lull us into a false sense of
security. Like so many other similar treaties, you don't need it
for the countries who would comply, and it will be of no use for
those who will cheat.
Perhaps most important, a ban on anti-satellite weapons would be
unverifiable. There has been quite a bit of work done on this. The
recent Chinese test illustrates the point. Are we going to propose
a ban on medium-range ballistic missiles like the one that carried
China's interceptor? Will we require comprehensive inspection of
every payload prior to launch? These are clearly nonstarters. Even
intrusive, comprehensive inspections of payloads would fail to
address concerns over ground-based lasers, signal jammers, and
other anti-satellite capabilities that never have to be launched at
The Chinese are interesting in their discussion of their own
program. They continually emphasize the deception that would
continue to be a problem. To quote just one of them, Colonel Jia
Junming, in the 2005 book On Space Operations, urges: "[Our
future space weapons program] should be low profile and intense
internally but relaxed in external appearance to maintain our good
international image and position."
Finally, assuaging Chinese insecurities would require putting
either our missile defenses or our conventional military
superiority on the table for negotiation. Some might consider this
an acceptable price to pay, but I would argue it is far too
much to give for an agreement of inherently dubious value.
Importance of Space Capabilities
Verification problems aside, military capabilities in space are
likely to prove vital to our security in the future, and I do not
believe that we should consider forfeiting our right to build
Space assets are important, first of all, to help preserve peace
in space. Few object when the United States Navy deploys hundreds
of heavily armed warships in every one of the world's oceans. No
one accuses us of contributing to the "weaponization of the sea"
because they know that the presence of our weapons ensures free
transit for all who pursue their peaceful interests. U.S. systems
based in space could similarly patrol the "commons" for the good of
We should also expect that space weapons will play a role in
future combat operations against modern militaries. Speaking
back in 2002, former Undersecretary of the Air Force Peter Teets
What will we do five years from now when American lives are put
at risk because an adversary uses space-borne imagery
collectors, commercial or homegrown, to identify and target
American forces? What will we do ten years from now when American
lives are put at risk because an adversary chooses to leverage the
global positioning system or perhaps the Galileo constellation to
attack American forces with precision?"
The bottom line is this: We must not jeopardize our warfighters
in the name of preserving an indefensible distinction between
space and non-space weapons. If targeting an adversary's satellites
allows our military to achieve victory more quickly, or at lower
cost in blood, such attacks must be considered. The Chinese
seem to understand this point much better than we do.
So my fourth point, instead of talking about illusory arms
control arrangements, is that we need to get serious about space
security. The recently revised National Space Policy is a step in
the right direction.
Every Administration since the Eisenhower Administration
has had a national space policy to establish overarching
national policy that governs the conduct of U.S. space activities.
The Bush Administration national space policy was released in
October as a Presidential Decision Directive replacing the last
version, issued by Bill Clinton in 1996.
Consistent with previous iterations, the current policy
reaffirms space as a vital national interest and opposes
"development of new legal regimes or other restrictions that seek
to prohibit or limit U.S. access to or use of space." It
also restates U.S. commitment to "[d]evelop capabilities,
plans, and options to ensure freedom of action in space, and, if
directed, deny such freedom of action to adversaries." This
statement means we reserve the right to develop offensive and
defensive ASAT capabilities, as well as robust missile
We also have an Air Force Counterspace Operations Doctrine,
which properly recognizes the imperative to control the "ultimate
high ground" by building three capability areas:
- Space Situational Awareness (SSA) forms the foundation
for all space activities by "characterizing, as completely as
possible, the space capabilities operating within the
terrestrial and space environments." Using sensors and
telescopes based both on the ground and in space, SSA allows
warfighters to know where the adversary's space assets are and
what they are doing.
- Defensive Counterspace is defined as "protecting,
preserving, recovering, and reconstituting friendly space-related
capabilities before, during, and after an adversary attack."
This could include everything from hardening satellites against
laser attacks to launching an air strike against an enemy's GPS
jamming facility to quickly launching replacements that are
- Offensive Counterspace denies the adversary the use
of space assets through reversible or permanent means. It
encompasses everything from jamming or blinding to destroying
Some Troubling Signs
So we do not lack sensible policy guidance. We have that. The
question is whether we have the will to implement it. Some recent
examples point to a flagging enthusiasm for space security.
Look at the Administration reaction to the Chinese ASAT test.
Since the test was reported, there has been no public statement by
the President or any Cabinet officials and no mention during the
State of the Union. No congressional hearings have yet been
scheduled. No indication has come out of the Pentagon that the
space budget is being in any way revisited. The State
Department has provided no specific information about what our
diplomats are, or are not, saying to the Chinese in response to
Another example is the release of the National Space Policy,
released on October 6, the Friday before the three-day Columbus Day
weekend. The media didn't even notice it had been released until
the middle of the following week. Perhaps that was deliberate
on the part of those who released it at that time.
Third, and very troubling, is the Quadrennial Defense Review.
The 2001 QDR, the Pentagon's foundational planning document,
asserted that "A key objective for transformation, therefore, is
not only to ensure the U.S. ability to exploit space for military
purposes, but also as required to deny an adversary's ability to do
so." But the most recent QDR, released in
February 2006, asserted no such objective and focused only on
building up space situational awareness and defensive means of
Another example: no funding for kinetic ASATs. Air Force budget
documents note that "consistent with DOD policy, the negation
efforts of this program currently focus on...technologies
which have temporary, localized, or reversible means." In
other words, we are only funding offensive counterspace
programs that do not permanently destroy or disable the adversary's
satellite. Clearly, the Chinese do not feel similarly encumbered.
We should use reversible ASATs when practical, but we need to have
the capability to eliminate a hostile satellite when necessary.
A fifth example: cancellation of an ASAT program. The
Counter-Space Reconnaissance System, designed to reversibly deny
the enemy access to intelligence satellites, was cancelled in
2004, and this cancellation went through despite the fact that,
according to officials from Air Force Space Command, the
military "continues to have a validated requirement" for the
system. So why was it cancelled?
A sixth example: cutting Space Situational Awareness. In
March 2006, Lt. Gen. Frank Klotz of U.S. Space Command told the
House Armed Services Committee that present space situational
awareness capabilities "are not adequate to counter future
threats." Despite this testimony, the Air Force has
recently cancelled one critical SSA program, the Orbital Deep-Space
Imager, and cut FY 2008 funding for another,
modernization of the "Space Fence," by more than 70 percent.
Once again, the Air Force has validated requirements for both
systems, but according to a Space Command spokesman, "the
decision was made to move those funds toward higher...Air Force
priorities." Meanwhile, systems that have survived, such as the
Space-Based Surveillance System (SBSS), are not scheduled for
deployment until at least 2012 or 2013.
A seventh example: no funding for space-based missile defense.
The past five years have seen serious backpedaling on missile
defense in space, including cancellation of the Space-Based Laser
and the removal of the kill vehicle from the NFIRE satellite. The
2007 budget funded no space-based missile defense work. Modest
funding was to begin in 2008 for a space-based missile defense test
bed, but some are suggesting that even that will be omitted
from the budget when it is sent to Congress in February.
An eighth example: U.S. Space Commission recommendations
overlooked. In addition to highlighting the importance of U.S.
space assets and their vulnerability, the 2001 report of the U.S.
Space Commission made a number of important recommendations.
Unfortunately, most of these recommendations have not been
For example, the commission argued that space must be recognized
as a "top national security priority" by the President and
recommended establishing a presidential advisory group and an
interagency group for national security in space. None of
these steps has been taken. The Defense Department has not
created a separate funding category, or "Major Force Program," for
space, meaning that space security funds can be (and frequently
are) diverted to pay for shortfalls in non-space areas.
The report also noted the inevitability of conflict in space and
urged decision makers to "develop the means both to deter and to
defend against hostile acts in and from space." As I noted, we
still lack proper defensive and offensive programs.
This demonstrates the paradox of the U.S.-China competition in
space. The Chinese profess peaceful intent and uncategorical
opposition to space weapons. At the same time, they are
developing and testing a multi-layered space warfare
capability. The U.S. on the other hand, repudiates arms control,
publicly asserts its rights to deny space access to our enemies,
and yet seems ambivalent toward the means of exerting that
What Needs to Be Done
We need to show our commitment to space security through
action. Here are six recommendations.
The first is to implement proposals in the report of the U.S.
Space Commission, released in 2001 after months of hard work and
serious thought. Senator Wayne Allard inserted language in last
year's Defense Authorization Act calling for an independent review
and assessment of DOD's progress in implementing some of the Space
Commission's key recommendations. Upon release, the "Allard
Report" should be the subject of extensive hearings before the
House and Senate Armed Services Committees. Next year's
defense bill should include the changes necessary to ensure that
the DOD, and particularly the Air Force, are organized and equipped
to meet the threat.
A second recommendation: Congress also needs to hold hearings to
ensure that the Chinese ASAT program is not based on U.S.
technology, either shared or stolen. If further export controls are
necessary to slow China's ASAT development, they must be
Third, the U.S. needs to ensure that our military has access to
so-called operationally responsive space, defined as "the ability
to launch--and activate quickly--militarily useful
satellites." In a world where our space assets are
likely to be threatened, operationally responsive space
capabilities will allow us to quickly and affordably replace assets
lost to anti-satellite attacks.
Fourth, the Missile Defense Agency needs to begin building a
"Space-Based Test Bed," which would include both kinetic and
directed energy components. The best way to protect our satellites
from missile-borne ASATs is to ensure that the missiles never
leave the atmosphere, and the best way to destroy missiles in the
boost phase is from space.
Fifth, the Defense Department and Congress must ensure that the
budget for Space Control is adequate to meet the threat. The budget
for all three elements added up to less than $500 million for
fiscal year 2007--less than one-half of 1 percent of the total
Air Force budget. This is clearly not enough. We are not funding
kinetic kill ASATs, and, as I mentioned earlier, important
offensive counterspace and situational awareness programs have
recently been cancelled due to lack of funds. Even though the
budget environment is tight and resources are not unlimited,
America can afford to defend our vital interests in space. In fact,
we can't afford not to.
As part of this effort, the Defense Department needs to send
Congress a budget that reflects the requirements for meeting the
threat in space. Too often, DOD is deterred from making requests
because they expect controversial programs to be cut or zeroed out
by Congress. But space security advocates, like myself, find it
much harder to fight for space programs when the Defense Department
is timid about requesting them in the first place.
Finally, I believe that conservatives must make space security a
priority once again. Most of the current neglect happened on
our watch, but space security and missile defense are as much
a part of the Reagan legacy as economic growth and
constitutionalist judges. Organizations like The Heritage
Foundation have continued to make the case for a sensible
space policy, and now it is time for conservatives in Congress and
elsewhere to take that case once again to the American public. For
all of the reasons discussed above, I believe that this is an
argument we can win.
In conclusion, this Chinese ASAT test was a wake-up call. We
cannot depend on uncontested access to space in the future. While
it is comforting to think that this threat can be neutralized
through negotiation and arms control, I have attempted to show here
today that it cannot.
In fact, going down the arms control route is only likely to
further weaken our security. The proper response is to examine
space policy, doctrine, and programs and ensure that we can defend
the American people and our access to space. Ronald Reagan
once said "of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because
the United States was too strong."
We know what we need to do. The question is: Do we have the will
and the focus? China clearly does, and they have shown us that we
can be complacent no longer. Now is the time for us to
Questions and Answers
FRANK GAFFNEY, CENTER FOR SECURITY POLICY: I wanted to
pick up on something that's central to your critique of the
alternative approach. I had the privilege of serving with President
Reagan 24 years ago. Henry Cooper and I collaborated in an
interagency study, at congressional request, that looked
exhaustively at whether there was any way to come up with a
verifiable, effective arms control treaty banning anti-satellite
activities and weapons, and we found there simply wasn't.
I'm unaware of any changes that have actually made that more
possible today. In fact, everything, as you indicate in your
speech, suggests otherwise. How can it possibly be that the United
States State Department as recently as Friday, as you pointed out,
is talking about preventing the militarization of space, which is,
of course, the code under which this idea of banning such weapons
would be advanced? Could you speak to both the intractable arms
control problems and why this State Department is similarly
drinking the Kool-Aid?
SENATOR KYL: The State Department's position runs
counter to expressed presidential direction. I refer any of
you who would like to get the real detailed information on this to
the report to the Congress on U.S. policy on ASAT arms control
dated March 31, 1984, by Frank Gaffney and Ambassador
Hank Cooper. It is a wonderfully documented paper on all of the
reasons why, as much as you might try to verify this kind of a
treaty, it is inherently impossible to do so. Without trying
to characterize all of the arguments here, I tried to
summarize them very briefly.
Frank Gaffney is exactly correct. The modern technology since
1984 has simply demonstrated (a) the correctness of this position
and (b) the fact that the genie is far more out of the bottle now
than it was back there. There are now simply so many different
ways that you could have an impact on this that it would be
inherently impossible to verify.
When people talk about the grand goal of somehow
eliminating something that, in reality, cannot be limited except by
the voluntary compliance of all the parties, then you also have to
examine the intentions of the parties. As I said before, like so
many other treaties, this is a perfect example of one in which the
people who don't need a treaty to comply would, and, of course,
those who would violate the treaty demonstrate the
inappropriateness of that as the way to try to limit the activity.
This is a classic case of a situation where, because of
technology verification of an ASAT capability, it is simply
PEGGY CHANG, VOICE OF AMERICA, CHINA BRANCH: Senator Kyl,
have you talked to some people, some of your colleagues in the
Congress, that share your view concerning the Chinese testing of
the anti-satellite missile? The second question is: Why do you
think there is a general lack of interest in the
Administration and Congress to react to this issue?
SENATOR KYL: Yes, I have spoken to some of my colleagues
about it who are also concerned. We're just beginning a new
Congress. The President has had his State of the Union speech.
There is so much on our plate right now, and we are so consumed
with the discussion of Iraq and the war against the
terrorists, that important issues like this are not receiving the
attention publicly that they should. It's one reason that I
chose to speak about this today, even though all of the discussion
on the floor of the U.S. Senate this week is going to be on the
Iraq resolutions. It's time to start speaking out about this.
As for your question of why the Administration has not been more
outspoken, I think it's a function of two things. One is their
preoccupation with what the rest of us are preoccupied with--the
global war against the terrorists and the current battle that
rages in Iraq--but also the complicated relationship with
China, which is difficult to manage under the best of circumstances
because there is so much in which we want to engage China,
certainly starting with trade, and so many areas in which we need
China's support--witness resolutions in the Security Council
dealing with Iran, for example, and North Korea--that it inhibits
our government from being as forthright as I think we should be in
criticizing the Chinese when they do something as
provocative as this.
We didn't even mention the practical problem that was caused by
this test. One reason that countries don't do this kind of
thing is because of the danger that it exposes all of us to by the
debris that's created in space--something like 40,000 particles,
all of which have the capability of destroying--and the majority of
the satellites are in the relative range of this space debris
that's been created by this test.
That alone would be a reason for the international
community to slap China on the wrist and say, "This is not
something that you should have done," leaving aside intentions
about ASAT capabilities against us. But I suspect that trying to
work this complicated relationship that we have with China is part
of the reason why we've been muted in our criticism of the
JUDY MATTHEWS, BLOOMBERG NEWS: You've been talking about
what you see as the anemic response by the State Department. Do you
think Robert Joseph's departure had anything to do with
SENATOR KYL: I don't know. I will tell you that Bob
Joseph gave a terrific speech, and I would commend that to all
of you. On December 13 of last year at the Marshall Institute, Bob
Joseph gave a great speech on the subject. He's certainly been a
stalwart in the Administration in support of the position that I
GERRIT VAN DER WEES, FORMOSAN ASSOCIATION OF PUBLIC
AFFAIRS: You said that one of the main reasons is that China
wants to knock out U.S. capabilities in the event of a conflict
over Taiwan. How can the U.S. at the present time use this
situation to strengthen its cooperation with both Japan and
Taiwan to counter the Chinese moves?
SENATOR KYL: I think it illustrates the necessity of
a dynamic response to an action like this, dynamic in the sense
that it shouldn't just be the United States. We need to work with
allies. Specifically, in that region of the world, you
mentioned the two, of course: Taiwan and Japan.
Japan, being a very modern nation, reliant on space technology,
ought to be very concerned about and interested in this Chinese
test, just as they have been with respect to North Korean missile
developments. I suspect that, when we do visit with the
Japanese about this, their concerns can be translated into
joint action, which is critical to our ability to pursue our own
national interests here.
You're quite right. This is not just an American problem, but a
problem for what we would now call the free world, but the world
that wants peace and that relies a lot on technology.
Every one of us are threatened by this kind of capability--not
just in military terms, as I pointed out, but everything from our
cell phones to what we watch on TV, how our financial markets work,
and the weather reports and everything else. We are simply becoming
so dependent on this technology that the ability of any rogue
regime to disrupt that ought to be of concern to the family of
BRUNO MICHAEL, DEFENSE AVIATION WEEK: Even space and
defense advocates in Congress, though, have been critical of a
lack of progress and problems in space programs at the Pentagon.
The past couple of defense authorization acts have actually
criticized the Pentagon for overreaching in some of the programs.
Do you think that perhaps the Pentagon isn't reaching far enough,
then? Do you think that criticism is wrong?
SENATOR KYL: I'm not suggesting that there may not be
some problems with some of the programs. Congress can always
find room to criticize a Pentagon program. I have suggested that,
in some areas, the Pentagon is not reaching high enough or far
enough. I personally had some conversations with people at the
Pentagon about my views on this.
I would hope that, recognizing the direction from the President,
the national policy embodied in the documents that I cited, the
Pentagon would be interested in furthering those goals with
specific programs and, if there are problems with them, fixing
the problems so they're not subject to congressional
criticism. It can start with proposing something in a budget.
It makes it very difficult, as I said, for me to argue for
something--unless I want to be subject to the earmarks
criticism--if it's not in the President's budget or
authorized. So it would be very helpful, if they think that
something is important, to put it in the budget, and then we can
have our discussions about it. If there are problems, then let's
work those problems out, but I don't think we can use that as an
excuse for all of the litany of problems that I cited to you here
EDWARD ROUTER, SUNSHINE PRESS: Given the
asymmetrical nature of offense versus defense in space, are you
concerned about the costs that would be involved in a space arms
race, both to defend our satellites and to develop offensive
capabilities against a Chinese economy that's booming?
SENATOR KYL: That's a very interesting question,
because your mind immediately goes back to the Reykjavik Summit and
the Reagan decision to move forward with then-called SDI and the
subsequent Soviet belief that it would be very difficult to
beat us in that particular arms race.
I think that the same thing is true here. Clearly, the United
States has such an edge on this technology and such a robust
capability financially to engage in this kind of effort that
countries like China, for example, would rather not have to
engage in the arms race in the sense that we leave the field to
them. If they could somehow figure out a way to bind us through
some kind of a treaty, I think that would be their dream. Knowing
that they might have to actually compete with us in such a race
would pose serious problems for them.
I don't mean just the Chinese here. I mean anybody else as well.
Your question assumed the asymmetric nature of this, and there is
an asymmetric quality to it which might favor, just hypothetically
speaking, a country like Iran, for example, only having to use a
medium-range missile, and certainly with some kind of a crude
nuclear warhead, an electromagnetic pulse, to do the job.
Otherwise, the Chinese technology of the kinetic impact would be
I would suggest that, even though there is an asymmetric aspect
to this--namely, that it might be easier to take out the satellite
than it is to defend against it--that's not as easy as it seems in
terms of our capability for both passive and active measures and
things that we could do if we really got serious about it. In any
event, even if there is an asymmetry to the problem, given the
challenge that we have, the importance of maintaining our ability
to defend our assets, we have no choice but to ensure that we have
the technology to do that.
When I commented on what Senator Biden had said, it related to
what we have done and are doing, but I don't mean to suggest that
we don't have the capability of providing this kind of defense if
we choose to do so. I think, relatively speaking, the cost is not
Don't ask me to define what "great" means over 10 years, but
there are ways in which we can devise these protections if we're
willing to do it. That's the concern that I have: that, yes, the
technology exists for us out there, but we're not willing to take
advantage of it.
JUSTIN KELLER, LOCKHEED MARTIN: You said that one thing
that might come out of this is a need for operationally responsive
space. Responsiveness, to me, seems an attribute like
survivability that could be built in and should be an animating
philosophy in every space system, not just little satellites
that get launched on short notice that may not have the same
capability of those they would replace. Your thoughts on that?
SENATOR KYL: I obviously agree. When you break it down
into components, you get into things like reconstitution as part of
the system. But clearly, it would be better not to have to
We already know how to do some passive things to harden
satellites against various threats and so on. We know how to
maneuver them. But just think about this in terms of the
verifiability argument that I made before. Every defensive move
that you can conceive of that we could make, except hardening,
represents a potential offensive capability as well. That's why
this is inherently unverifiable.
If you want to get into more detail on that, you could go
probably go a lot further with the point than I can, but it seems
to me to be pretty clear. As this debate unfolds, we're going to
have to be able to talk about that kind of problem.
AL MILLIKIN, WASHINGTON INDEPENDENT WRITERS:
I was interested on how you would evaluate, recently, the Chinese
government influence, through lobbyists or other special
interests, as far as influencing the Congress in particular.
Do you see their influence on Capitol Hill?
I'm also wondering: If you would put yourself in the shoes of
the head of a Chinese government official pursuing the Chinese
agenda, do you think they have to be very pleased with our
SENATOR KYL: The answer to both questions is yes, and
I'll expand a little bit more on the first one to share a personal
experience with you. During debate on technology transfer, for
example, many American business constituents came to my office,
arguing the Chinese point of view that there should be relatively
unlimited tech transfer, arguing against limitations. Some made it
quite clear that a condition of their ability to do business
in China was to successfully change American policy, and therefore
they became the lobbyists for the Chinese government, in
effect, to try to change that policy.
QUESTION: I am a student from George Mason University
School of Public Policy. We know that, in international relations,
a so-called security dilemma often happens. The U.S. suspects the
intentions of China, and China also suspects the intention of the
U.S. So how can you give a solution to the security dilemma between
the U.S. and China, and how can the two nations assure each other
that they are not hostile to each other?
SENATOR KYL: Probably no country more than China
represents this dilemma today with respect to intentions as well as
capabilities. It is in the United States' interest to have good
relations with a growing, freer, peaceful China, and we look
for ways to try to foster that kind of a relationship and influence
Chinese development along those lines. But China is a great power,
a huge future powerhouse peopled with very smart, well-educated
people with a very long history and a long-range view of things as
compared to our very short-range view sometimes.
There are clearly areas in which hostilities between the two
countries could quickly become very serious, Taiwan being the most
obvious. There are also important areas for both countries that
suggest that cooperation between the two countries would be
the best course of action, and I suspect that both countries are
trying to manage this evolving difficult relationship.
The area in which I criticize our government is in being
sometimes unwilling to speak truth to these issues. Sometimes
trying to be too diplomatic creates confusion and uncertainty,
and in some areas you need clarity.
I understand that in the diplomatic world, sometimes you
need lack of clarity as well. But when you're talking about two
countries with military potential to hurt themselves, you better be
pretty clear with each other.
Second, I quoted Reagan: We've never had a problem in wars when
we were too strong. It's when we've been perceived as being too
weak, when we do not respond to potential challenges with strength,
that we create the impression that it is possible for a
country to gain leverage over us by continuing to push in the
direction that they're pushing and that maybe the United States
will not respond.
Unfortunately, what happens too frequently with the United
States is that we don't respond. We want to be left alone. We're
all for peace. They clearly can't mean it. Maybe they can be
appeased. And then, finally, when the other side has actually
committed itself to action adverse to the United States, we
wake up to the threat and have to get engaged in a catch-up way,
sometimes after a war has been declared against us, and it's too
late to save a lot of the lives that could be saved otherwise.
So it's better, I think, as you go along, to express our
displeasure and to do things which clearly can be seen, by the
Chinese in this case, as a serious effort on our part to defend
ourselves in the event that the Chinese intentions are not benign
and then, finally, to use all of the leverage that we have in
dealing with a great country like China.
I remember when I was on the House Armed Services
Committee, and I think it was Secretary of Defense Caspar
Weinberger who was being questioned. We were talking about how
to influence policy, and he said: Look, the Chinese are very
good at focusing every decision that's made during the course of a
week or a month on one particular problem. Whether it's
issuing visas to somebody to travel to the country or signing some
agricultural agreement or objecting to something in their
public press or whatever it might be, they can become very focused,
and every one of their decisions--and there will be hundreds in a
week--are focused on achieving a particular objective.
In the United States, in our government, we have maybe hundreds
of decisions every week that could affect China in some way or
another. They are not coordinated. Some of them can be very
negative, others can be very effusively positive, and there's
no coordination of that effort. But we have the way, if we are
focused and if our government is united on this, to influence
policy by a myriad of decisions that we can make, none of which is
huge, but all of which combined together can have a
The Chinese are the best at doing this. Every time somebody from
Taiwan wants to come over here that has some kind of a title, you
hear about it, and it almost becomes an act of war if we grant a
visa to somebody to come to the United States. What if we took the
same kind of position relative to things that we don't like about
China? The dynamic would be a lot different. I think we have to be
a bit more forward leaning on things like that, and it would
be hard for them to complain since that's precisely the way that
they work against us.
So firmness, clarity of purpose, clarity in expression--I
think all of these would suit us a little better even as we're
trying to manage a relationship and foster a relationship which
will be peaceful in the future and to the mutual benefit
economically of both countries.
JOHN ZANG, CCITV OF TAIWAN: On Taiwan, I was wondering
whether or not the Chinese development of the ASAT capability
and other space capabilities, and the lack of strong response from
the United States so far, eventually caused the United States to
give second thought to its security commitment to Taiwan.
SENATOR KYL: I think, indirectly, the answer to that
question could be yes. It should not be, and I hope it doesn't
evolve in that direction; but if, as a result of the lack of
response, the Chinese believe that they can continue to push
further and that pushing creates more controversy, then at least it
puts the question more squarely before us in a way that we may not
like to have to face.
Second, if we don't respond, and therefore we don't have the
capabilities to deter an attack or to defeat an attack should one
occur, then clearly our options are limited, and the ways that we
might respond are directly affected by that.
We can never allow ourselves to get to the point where it isn't
crystal clear to the Chinese what would happen if they engaged in
such an attack. If they come to believe that, because of their
asymmetric doctrine, which is directly related to our capabilities
in that region of the world in response to a Chinese attack or
threat, we don't have the ability, then obviously we cannot deter
it through our strength alone, and that would have an impact on the
calculus that the United States has to engage in, in deciding how
to respond should such an attack occur.
I hope you'll carry from this meeting the necessity to focus on
more than one thing and, when something like this has
happened, to think it through carefully, be willing to talk to
other folks about it, and help us develop and execute the policies
that we need to keep America free.
The Honorable Jon Kyl (R-AZ) is a
member of the U.S. Senate. He is ranking minority member of the
Subcommittee on Taxation and IRS Oversight of the Committee on
Finance and of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and
Homeland Security of the Committee on the Judiciary, as well as
chairman of the Senate Republican Conference.
"China Attempted to Blind U.S. Satellites with
Laser," Defense News, September 25, 2006.
Michael P. Pillsbury, "An Assessment of China's
Anti-Satellite and Space Warfare Programs, Policies, and
Doctrines," report prepared for the U.S.-China Economic and
Security Review Commission, January 19, 2007.
"Biden Warns Against an Arms Race in Space,"
Boston Globe, January 22, 2007.
"U.S. Presses China on Anti-Satellite Test,"
Los Angeles Times, January 20, 2007.
Press release, "Markey Denounces Chinese
Missile Test, Calls on Bush Admin. to Strike Agreement to Ban
Future Tests," January 18, 2007, at http://markey.house.gov/.
Cited in Pillsbury, "An Assessment of China's
Anti-Satellite and Space Warfare Programs, Policies, and
Honorable Peter B. Teets, Undersecretary of the Air Force, Air
Force Association symposium, November 15, 2002, quoted in United
States Air Force, Counterspace Operations, Air Force
Doctrine Document 2-2.1, August 2, 2004, p. viii, at /static/reportimages/0238F2BCBB1167948366007D69BE9DB8.pdf.
Department of Defense, Quadrennial Defense
Review Report, September 30, 2001, p. 31.
FY 2007 National Defense Authorization Act,
Section 914, pp. 794-795.
As defined in the FY 2007 National Defense
Authorization Act, Section 913, p. 794.