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Mind the Gap

The rapid advancement of space and cyber technologies globally is challenging the longstanding national security strategy of the United States, which has traditionally relied on the protective barrier of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. These new technologies have the potential to bring the effects of war directly to American soil. Benjamin Jensen from the Center for Strategic and International Studies noted that while war has utilized space and cyber domains for decades, the current usage challenges societal perceptions of warfare.


Key Points:


1.     Evolving Threats:

·       The United States' dominance in space and cyberspace is being contested by nations like China and Russia, who are rapidly closing the technological gap.

·       China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) has been implicated in extensive cyber espionage, stealing sensitive information to enhance its military capabilities.

·       Cyberattacks by North Korea are generating significant funds for its weapons programs.


2.     Global Surveillance and Infrastructure Attacks:

·        A global surveillance race is intensifying, with critical U.S. infrastructure, such as in Guam, being targeted by cyber saboteurs.

·        Russian cyber activities in Ukraine serve as a testing ground, with concerns about potential spillover effects reaching the U.S.


3.     Space Domain Vulnerabilities:

·        The year 2023 saw a record 2,877 spacecraft launches, highlighting the increasing activity in space by the U.S., China, and Europe.

·        Both China and Russia have developed space weapons capable of disabling essential satellites, raising concerns about space debris and the militarization of space.

·        There are warnings about Russia's efforts to deploy nuclear devices in space.


4.     U.S. Defense Spending:

·        The Department of Defense's 2025 budget reflects a significant investment in cyber and space defense, with $14.5 billion allocated for cyber initiatives and $29.4 billion for the Space Force.

·        Investments include funding for zero trust cybersecurity models and research in missile warning, tracking, and nuclear coordination.


Conclusion: The increasing competition in space and cyberspace is eroding America's strategic advantage, underscoring the need for enhanced defense measures in these domains.


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