US Space Force holds war game to test satellite network under attack

The training exercise involved an adversarial group working to simulate an aggressor nation with space capabilities like Russia or China.

 A new logo for the U.S. Space Force being added by the Trump administration as a sixth branch of the U.S. military, is seen in this handout image released by U.S. President Donald Trump from the White House in Washington, U.S. January 24, 2020.  (photo credit: The White House/Handout via REUTERS)
A new logo for the U.S. Space Force being added by the Trump administration as a sixth branch of the U.S. military, is seen in this handout image released by U.S. President Donald Trump from the White House in Washington, U.S. January 24, 2020.
(photo credit: The White House/Handout via REUTERS)

The United States is testing satellite resiliency to threats from China and Russia miles above the earth's surface, just weeks after Russia shot down an aging communications satellite.

The computer-aided simulations included potential shooting down of US missile-tracking satellites, satellite jamming, and other electronic warfare "effects" that are possible tactics in space warfare. Actual satellites are not used.

During a visit to Schriever Space Force Base in Colorado, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks saw the 'Space Flag' simulated space training exercise hosted by US forces. It was the thirteenth such exercise, and the third to involve partners such as Britain, Canada and Australia.

Pentagon leaders are touring US bases this week while the Biden administration's draft 2023 budget takes shape. The Department of Defense hopes to move budget dollars toward a military that can deter China and Russia.

After Russia successfully conducted an anti-satellite missile test last month, US officials believe there is an increasing need to make the US satellite network resilient to attack and to use opportunities like "Space Flag" to train.

 THE INTERNATIONAL Space Station photographed by Expedition 56 crew members from a Soyuz spacecraft after undocking in 2018. (credit: NASA/Roscosmos/Handout via REUTERS) THE INTERNATIONAL Space Station photographed by Expedition 56 crew members from a Soyuz spacecraft after undocking in 2018. (credit: NASA/Roscosmos/Handout via REUTERS)

Satellites are vital to military communications, global positioning navigation, and timing systems that are needed in the event of war.

The 10-day-long space war game attempts to simulate the cutting edge of the US capability in space. The training exercise involved an adversarial group working to simulate an aggressor nation with space capabilities like Russia or China.

Russia is not the first country to conduct anti-satellite tests in space. The United States performed the first in 1959, when satellites were rare and new.