The U.S. Department of Defense released a new space strategy report. In it, the military revealed that it’s concerned that nukes detonated in space could wipe out its fleet of satellites.
It’s not a new concern, since space nukes were originally banned in the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. But all the same, Business Insider reports that the Pentagon is particularly concerned that China and Russia might strike a dire warning for the future of combat.
The report specifically identified China and Russia as immediate threats. Such an attack could potentially devastate military communication networks as well as the myriad other systems that depend on satellites.
“The challenge of a nuclear detonation is that it creates an electromagnetic pulse and a signal that could then take out indiscriminately many satellites in space and essentially fry the electronics,”
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy Stephen Kitay said at a press conference on the report, according to BI.
“That is a threat that we have to potentially be prepared for a nuclear detonation in space,” he added.
If nothing else, the report is yet another sign that the idea of space remaining peaceful seems to be slipping away.
“I wish I could say that space is a sea of tranquility, but the fact of the matter is that space is contested,” Kitay said. “Outer space has emerged as a key arena of potential conflict in an era of great power competition.”