According to the 2021 Annual Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community, "Beijing is working to match or exceed U.S. capabilities in space to gain the military, economic, and prestige benefits that Washington has accrued from space leadership."
On Thursday in South Korea, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin rebuked China, vowing to confront its potential military threats in Asia and warning that its pursuit of hypersonic weapons intended to evade U.S. missile defenses "increases tensions in the region."
"We have concerns about the military capabilities that the PRC continues to pursue, and the pursuit of those capabilities increases tensions in the region," Austin said about the hypersonic weapons test, using the abbreviation for the People's Republic of China, the country's official name. "We'll continue to maintain the capabilities to defend and deter against a range of potential threats from the PRC to ourselves and to our allies," he said.
An alarming threat
Clare Lopez is founder and president of Lopez Liberty, with a mission to alert and educate Americans on a range of national security threats. She echoes Austin's remarks about the Chinese regime, expressing concern about its advancement in the areas of artificial intelligence and quantum computing.
"China, today, under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party is really driving hard in a number of high-tech areas," Lopez tells American Family News. She is particularly troubled by the PRC's weaponization of space, pointing to the recent tests of a hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) that appears to have the capability to fire a missile mid-flight.
She points out not only is the HGV capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, it can also fire a separate missile.
"At five times the speed of sound," Lopez admits, "it's quite alarming that a missile can be fired from this hypersonic glide vehicle while it's in flight."
American military officials and politicians reportedly are alarmed by this Chinese technology, and are becoming increasingly wary of future threats to the U.S. mainland. While Lopez shares the same concern, she takes it a step further by discussing the system's path around the globe.
It's time to take the threat seriously
Lopez, a member of Citizens' Commission on National Security, notes that previous threats from the Soviet Union would have been aimed at the West and Northwest, which are protected by a number of air-defense military installations. But the Chinese, she contends, are taking a different tact: the HGV was following "a fractional orbital bombardment system track." On that track, the vehicle didn't circle around the globe laterally, but from pole to pole.
"… This [HGV] can come up the Western Hemisphere from out of the south where the United States has essentially zero defense systems along our Gulf coast and Atlantic coast," the national security expert points out. "Places like the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency [DARPA] better start taking this threat more seriously."
Lopez questions the seriousness of U.S. officials regarding the advancing threat of the Chinese Communist Party, noting the Defense Department's push to defend America's wokeness.
"Maybe they are taking China seriously, but the Pentagon also turns around and holds seminars on white privilege and systemic racism in America," she points out.
When she first heard the statement coming out of the Pentagon that military officials were taken by surprise by launch of the HGV from China, she admits she didn't want to believe them.
"How could they not know?" she asks, answering sarcastically: "Maybe they didn't know, considering America's woke culture could have been a greater priority [for them]."