Russia Wants To Build Space Nukes

By Charlene Badasie | Published

russia space nukes

Recent intelligence reports suggest that Russia is developing a space-based nuclear weapon (or space nukes), raising concerns among U.S. officials and its European allies. The primary concern is the threat posed to America’s satellite network, which plays a crucial role in various aspects of communication, surveillance, and military command-and-control operations.

Russia Breaking Its Promises?

russia space nukes

The U.S. currently lacks the ability to counter such a weapon, raising questions about the vulnerability of its satellite infrastructure. The Outer Space Treaty of 1967, which prohibits orbital nuclear weapons, could be at risk if Russia moves forward with deploying its space nukes. The treaty has been a cornerstone of arms control efforts between the United States and Russia since the Cold War.

The Reveal

russia space nukes

The intelligence revelation was made public by Rep. Michael R. Turner, chair of the House Intelligence Committee. Although he did not provide specific details, it was suggested that the intelligence pertains to Russia’s space-based antisatellite space nukes. Turner also called on the Biden administration to declassify the information, emphasizing the need to respond to the potential threat.

“I am requesting that President Biden declassify all information relating to this threat so that Congress, the administration, and our allies can openly discuss the actions necessary to respond to this threat,” Turner said. In an unorthodox move, his committee also voted to make the Russia space nukes information accessible to all members of Congress.

Declassification A Bad Idea?

This step raised concerns among some officials, as it remains unclear in what context, if any, the intelligence in the panel’s possession was presented. In a note to lawmakers, the House Intelligence Committee stated that the intelligence pertained to a “destabilizing foreign military capability.” But the White House is concerned about releasing the information, citing risks to intelligence sources.

Space Nukes Seem In Character For Russia

russia space nukes

Russia’s pursuit of space nukes is not too surprising. The country has been developing its space-based capabilities for decades, and concerns about placing nuclear weapons in space have been plaguing its counterpart countries for over 50 years. While the U.S. experimented with similar technology in the past, it refrained from deploying it.

More Countries To Put Nukes In Space?

The deployment of a space-based nuclear weapon by Russia could have far-reaching consequences. Beyond the immediate threat to U.S. satellite networks, the development sets a dangerous precedent that could encourage other nations to follow suit. Moreover, if Russia abandons the Outer Space Treaty, it may trigger a cascade effect, leading to the militarization of space and a renewed arms race.

National Security Isn’t That Secure

Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia and Sen. Marco Rubio from Florida issued a joint statement, revealing that the Senate Intelligence Committee has been closely monitoring the Russia space nukes issue. They mentioned ongoing discussions with the Biden administration regarding a response, emphasizing that releasing detailed information could jeopardize the methods of collection.

At a White House press briefing, National Security Adviser Sullivan was asked whether he could assure Americans that there was no cause for concern. But he said it was “impossible to answer with a straight ‘yes.'” Sullivan acknowledged the diverse range of threats, including terrorism and state actors, and stressed the need to confront them while ensuring the ultimate security of the American people.

Sullivan expressed confidence in President Biden’s decisions to safeguard national security. Attempting to quell potential public alarm following Turner’s Russia space nukes announcement, Speaker Mike Johnson said there was “no need for public alarm.”

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