Washington DC: Vice chief of space operations for the US Space Force General David Thompson said on December 4 that China is developing its space capabilities at “twice the rate” of the US. He was speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum in a panel of US space experts and leaders moderated by CNN’s Kristin Fisher.
General Thompson warned China could overtake the US in space capabilities by the end of the decade.
“If we don’t start accelerating our development and delivery capabilities, they will exceed us,” General Thompson said, adding, “2030 is not an unreasonable estimate.”
General Thompson was joined by Rep. Jim Cooper, a Tennessee Democrat who chairs the House Armed Services Committee’s strategic forces subcommittee, which helps oversee the Space Force’s budget, and Chris Kubasik, president, and CEO of L3Harris Technologies, a defense contractor that develops Space and Airborne Systems.
Cooper said, “Hell yes,” when asked if the US is competing in a so-called space race with China. Both General Thompson and Kubasik agreed with Cooper’s assessment.
Cooper suggested the Space Force should be more like the National Reconnaissance Office, which oversees government space satellites and provides satellite intelligence to several US agencies.
“The NRO has actually done a pretty amazing job,” Cooper said. “They’re not as well-known as some other agencies. But I had a recent side-by-side briefing with the NRO and Space Force. My conclusion after that briefing was: thank God for the NRO, I anxiously await the day that I can say the same about the Space Force.”