What Are the Odds?

The House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee at a hearing Wednesday began delving into potential vulnerabilities facing national security space assets, which increasingly have become critical enablers for US military operations. Committee Chair Rep. Terry Everett (R-Ala.) threw out the first fast ball, asking about the impact if someone detonated a nuclear warhead in space, despite international treaties and the effect on their “own stuff.” Michael O’Hanlon, a senior Brookings fellow in foreign policy studies, does not think anyone would do this lightly, but he acknowledges that such an event could wipe out US precision strike capability and much more. O’Hanlon also acknowledges that “explosives are difficult to counter.” At top of his protections list are hardening military satellites and employments of “radio transmission frequencies and signal strengths capable of penetrating a nuclear-disturbed atmosphere.” (Read his written statement here.)