Inside the ring: Austin calls for “responsible” space operations

Secretary of defense Lloyd Austin Earlier this month, the key elements of “responsible behavior in space” were outlined in a memo to the Pentagon and military leaders.

Austin said in a July 7 memo: “As more and more actors enter space, this field is changing, and the risk of collisions, miscalculations or misunderstandings is increasing.” “The department has the responsibility to demonstrate and Recognize responsible space behavior to continue to maintain space leadership.”

The memorandum instructs all Pentagon and military agencies to conduct space operations in accordance with the “principle of responsible conduct.”

The space force will be in, out of, and through space in space in a “for the sake of others” and “professional approach.” The activity will also limit the generation of long-lived orbital waste. Space assets must also avoid “harmful interference and maintain the safe isolation and safe trajectory of satellites and spacecraft.”

Communication and notification also need to be carried out in a way that enhances spatial stability and security.

The head of the new US Space Command “will work with the Department of Defense stakeholders to develop and coordinate guidelines on these principles and related specific behaviors related to the Department of Defense’s operations in the Space Responsibility Zone, and recommend them to the Secretary of Defense for approval,” he Say. Austin said.

The newly appointed deputy secretary of defense in charge of policy Colin Carr The memorandum states that the principles of space behavior will be led throughout the government and internationally.

The new policy appears to be the Biden administration’s attempt to promote international norms for space activities, saying Michael Listner, Space expert. Mr. Listner said that although the directive is intended to serve as internal guidance, its principles may generate positive geopolitical prospects and resist the pressure of new restrictive space treaties.

“Caution is needed, considering that’norms’ are usually a pretense of customary international law. [nongovernmental organizations] Will seize and try to promote the dialogue,” said Mr. Listner, founder of the think tank Space Law & Policy Solutions.

The Austin Memorandum also appears to have adopted the soft deterrence method contained in the 2011 National Security Space Strategy, which aims to encourage China and Russia not to use anti-satellite weapons.

“But the memo obviously took into account the legal strategy in its’all bets are over’ accident, in case the opponent decides to ignore the rules or launch a pre-emptive anti-satellite strike,” Mr. Listner said.

2011 Space Strategy, signed by the Secretary of Defense Robert Gates And the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Pointed out that national defense policy aims to promote the responsible, peaceful and safe use of space. However, the strategy also recognizes that space war is possible.

The report states: “Our military and intelligence capabilities must be prepared to’resist’ degraded environments and thwart attacks on our space systems and supporting infrastructure.” “We must deny and defeat the adversary’s ability to achieve its goals.”

China has been criticized for its irresponsible use of space warfare capabilities during its anti-satellite missile test in space in 2006, which left tens of thousands of debris in earth orbit and threatened the number of manned and unmanned spacecraft. ten years. The test involved a direct-rising anti-satellite missile that blew up a Chinese meteorological satellite.

The Austin Memorandum was signed at the same time as Rear Admiral. Michael BernakiThe Director of Strategy, Planning, and Policy of the Space Command warned that China is building large-scale and rapid space warfare capabilities. General Benaki said that the deployment speed of anti-satellite missiles, electronic jammers and robot killers is frightening.

“The thing that scares me the most is: if you go back six years ago, there will be almost nothing in China,” he said. “Look at them now. China’s ability to exponentially increase its anti-space capabilities is terrible. I mean, I don’t know what else to say.”

U.S. military satellites are regarded by opponents as the Achilles heel of U.S. joint combat capabilities.

The military relies heavily on satellites for communication, navigation, and weapon targeting. Even knocking out a few satellites may impair operations.

Senator seeks deeper investigation into the origin of COVID

This week a bipartisan group of senators urged President Biden Order US intelligence agencies to more actively investigate the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The threat to international health and security posed by the Chinese Communist Party’s repression and opaque governance of the People’s Republic of China has become apparent in the past 18 months, especially considering China’s efforts to conceal the severity and scope of the outbreak. SARS-CoV-2 The virus caused the COVID-19 -19 pandemic,” the senator said in a letter to the president on July 27.

“China’s refusal to cooperate with the World Health Organization’s investigation into the origin of COVID-19, the ban on Chinese scientists and medical staff, and its ongoing confusion and false propaganda activities against the epidemic have caused serious problems throughout the world. Difficulties.”

This letter was signed by a Democratic senator. Robert Menendez and Mark R. WarnerThey are the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Intelligence Special Committee, and Sens. James E. Risch and Marco Rubio, The vice chairs of these groups and ranking Republican members. The senators took note of the White House’s May directive, ordering US intelligence agencies to seek “final conclusions” on the origin of the pandemic.

In order to prevent another deadly and destructive pandemic, the senators asked Mr. Biden to ensure that spy agencies conduct zero investigations into the origin and spread of the virus.

“If your announced 90-day effort does not come to a conclusion of high American trust, we urge you to instruct the intelligence community to continue to prioritize this investigation until such a conclusion can be reached,” they said.

Intelligence agencies also need to check virus research conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), where the coronavirus may have escaped, as well as the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products.

The senators stated: “This investigation must evaluate the evidence about WIV researchers who fell ill in the fall of 2019.” “It should determine other details of any WIV researchers working on the coronavirus project, as well as the Chinese government’s attempts to silence them. Or the attempt to disappear; any detailed information on the WIV function of coronavirus or other potential human pathogens to obtain research information; laboratory safety standards and practices for such research; and any synthetic biology and biotechnology related to the’military-civilian integration’ strategy Details of the research and other military work or funding for WIV.”

It is also necessary to investigate the spread of the virus from animals to humans, including specific zoonotic transmission chains, as well as the most likely time, location, and contributing factors associated with any animal-to-human spillover event.

China’s efforts to prevent international investigations into the origin of the virus and other actions taken by Beijing to conceal the nature of the virus and its spread should also be part of intelligence investigations. The investigation should include whether the Chinese government has violated international agreements related to handling the virus outbreak, and if there are signs of cover-ups, these agencies should “analyze their motives for doing so.”

In addition, the senators hope that the US government will lead international forensic investigations in China.

They stated: “As China continues to obstruct WHO’s efforts, the U.S. government should work with our allies and partners to use all available resources and tools to pressure Beijing to allow serious investigations.”

The US government’s funding for research on China’s acquired functional viruses should also be part of intelligence investigations.

The senators said: “U.S. taxpayers’ funds should not support any cooperation with Chinese entities that pose a health, economic, or safety risk to the United States.” “China has proven that lax biosafety standards are violated. [international health regulations], Trying to steal intellectual property related to the COVID-19 vaccine may violate the Biological Weapons Convention. “

The formal review should determine whether there is direct or indirect taxpayer funding in China and WIV, and whether the research is used by the Chinese military.

A State Department fact sheet on WIV released by the Trump administration stated that the Chinese military has been conducting research, including experiments, at the institute since at least 2017.

WIV officials denied conducting any military-related research and denied that the coronavirus might escape from the laboratory.

Gail under investigation

According to an army officer, a Marine Corps civilian who wrote an article for the Global Times, a media affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party, is under investigation by the Pentagon.

Franz Gal The officer, who asked not to be named, said that the security clearance of a Marine Corps scientific adviser was also suspended, pending the results of the counterintelligence investigation.

In an article in the Global Times published on April 27, Gail warned that the United States would lose in the Taiwan war with China. Pentagon officials said that this article was published without authorization.

A Marine Corps captain familiar with the details of the case said after a preliminary review that the investigation of Gale was extended by 90 days. The investigation is expected to be completed on September 30.

As reported in this space in May, two Republican members of the House of Representatives wrote to the Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin Ask how the retired Marine Corps major and current civilian adviser were allowed to write for Beijing’s most enthusiastic anti-American propaganda agency.

“In fact, a government official would repeatedly propagate this publicly and shamelessly [Chinese Communist Party] Publicity without repercussions is outrageous,” the House of Representatives wrote. Thomas P. Tiffany, Wisconsin Republican and Representative. Scott Perry, Republican of Pennsylvania. “Frankly, the fact that he is still employed is incredible.”

Mr. Gail did not respond to an email seeking comment. However, the officer said he was still employed by the Marine Corps.

Mr. Gale told the Washington Post that on June 1, he was told that he was the target of a counterintelligence investigation and was related to two articles he wrote for the Global Times.

“I know what I said will not be approved, but… we are running out of time as a country,” Mr. Gale said, adding that he plans to retire.

• Reach out to Bill Gertz via @BillGertz on Twitter.

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