But a new DIA report, "Challenges to Security in Space", warns that both China and Russian Federation are making advances in space technology, and that both are likely to turn to space early on in any major military conflict to cripple their adversaries.
With a growing number of entities engaged in space activities, . the report expects the U.S.to face more challenges in its space dominance and assets in orbit.
Space forms the basis for America's military advantages, and the country can not allow those to decay or be overtaken, according to a Defense Intelligence Agency report titled "Challenges to Security in Space". "These capabilities provide their militaries with the ability to command and control their forces worldwide, and with enhanced situational awareness enabling them to monitor, track and target USA and allied forces".
"Challenges to Security in Space" explains why space is a "contested" domain and why other countries might attempt to disrupt US satellites, for instance.
In a report released on Monday, the Pentagon says China and Russian Federation are capable of searching, monitoring, and characterizing satellites.
While the European Union, Russia and the US' satellite navigation constellations offer global coverage, Japan and India operate regional systems, it said.
Eight days later, the US shot down a failed spy satellite with a ballistic missile, something China had done the year before.
"Having seen the benefits of space-enabled operations, some foreign governments are developing capabilities that threaten others' ability to use space", DIA officials wrote in the report.
This capability supports both space operations and counter space systems, it said.
The report is meant to support a deeper public understanding of keyspace and counter space issues and inform open dialogue and partner engagement on these challenges. But not to the Pentagon; the agency's report lays out all the different ways Beijing and Moscow could attack U.S. satellites in order to win future wars.
They have also developed the command and control systems needed to deploy these capabilities as weapons.
"Some actors are seeking ways to deny the effectiveness of the United States, having witnessed more than 25 years of USA military successes enabled by space capabilities", the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) study said.
Globally, the space industry will continue to expand as technological and cost barriers fall and worldwide partnerships for joint production grow. And in October, Vice President Mike Pence told the National Space Council that the administration plans to launch the United States Space Force, the nation's sixth military branch, by 2020. "That makes tracking satellites and discriminating satellites from threats and nonthreats and predicting and preventing collisions more challenging".