China is threatening to overtake the U.S. military as the most dominant force in space, says the second in command of the now 2-year-old U.S. Space Force, who warns that Washington must dramatically accelerate its rollout of critical new technologies if it wants to retain superiority over the futuristic war-fighting domain.
The good news, said Vice Chief of Space Operations Gen. David Thompson, is that the Pentagon’s newest branch is showing promise in speeding up the deployment of key assets to counter China’s rapidly advancing capacities, including its growing capability to attack U.S. satellites.
Gen. Thompson offered the assessment in a wide-ranging exclusive interview this week with The Washington Times. He downplayed political division in Congress over the Space Force, which President Trump created in 2019.
The newly minted service is generally backed by Republicans but continues to face sharp criticism from Democrats. With some on the left accusing the former administration of using the force to promote the “militarization” of space, Gen. Thompson brushed aside the heated politics surrounding the first branch added to the U.S. armed services since the Air Force more than 70 years ago.
“In the current environment we’re in, the current politically charged environment we’re in,” the general told The Times, “I don’t think there’s any topic that you’re not going to find differing opinions, strongly held beliefs and polarization.”
Some Democrats are calling for the abolishment of the Space Force.
Gen. Thompson said he and others heading the service are laser-focused not on politics, but the mission at hand. He emphasized that the coming decade will be critical as China and other adversaries field increasingly effective space capabilities.
“Since about 2007, potential adversaries, specifically the Chinese and Russians, have noticed how effectively we use space in military operations, and they have begun to develop and build weapons systems that take those capabilities away from us,” Gen. Thompson said.