June 3, 2013
Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces of the House Armed Services Committee and Co-Chairman of the Congressional China Caucus, today sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel requesting additional information on China’s recent missile launch. The letter expresses concern that the launch may be in support of Beijing’s anti-satellite weapons program.
“China’s recent launch of a missile 'nearly to geosynchronous orbit' requires additional answers from the Defense Department as to whether Beijing has tested an anti-satellite capability. Since its 2007 test of an anti-satellite weapon, China has demonstrated its desire to expand its anti-access strategy to the space domain. I have asked Secretary Hagel to provide additional information to the Congress on the nature of this missile launch so that we can take the appropriate action to ensure the protection of U.S. interests,” Forbes said.
The letter seeks answers to questions including:
- If the launch was related to anti-satellite weaponry, did it represent a new or existing anti-satellite capability?
- What type of attack mechanism was the missile designed to employ (i.e. kinetic kill vehicle, space mine, electronic warfare or directed energy weapon)?
- Why did Beijing attempt to disguise an anti-satellite weapon as a scientific experiment and has the Defense Department raised this issue with China?
- What are China’s current and projected abilities to target U.S. satellites? To which U.S. satellites do these capabilities pose the greatest risk? How does DoD plan to mitigate this threat?
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