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Is there a method to help avert space wars? Russia and China have military hotlines

To eliminate the chance of a nuclear war being initiated by a miscalculation or an accident, hotlines between heads of state and government have been maintained for a long time. During recent United States military strikes in the airspace over Syria, a hotline was setup with Russia to ensure flight safety.

Hotlines between the US and foreign adversaries may be worth considering now that space is deemed a sphere of war, according to Lt. Gen. B. Chance Saltzman, who works as the deputy chief of the space operations for the operations, cyber, and nuclear in the US Space Force. Prior to joining Space Force, Saltzman handled aviation activities in the Middle East for United States Air Forces Central Command. During a convention call with US and European reporters on November 3, he claimed, “We had a hotline to Russians since we were quite concerned that a misunderstanding with planes flying in close vicinity in Syria might lead to a disaster.”

“I don’t see why a comparable technique for the space domain couldn’t work,” Saltzman added. Saltzman is set to visit allies across Europe. Many of the conversations, he claimed, were about the “strategic competition” between the US, China, and Russia in the space sector, as well as “lessons gained from history about miscommunication.” “The hotline that we utilized during the air operation over Syria was to enable as much of our activities as open as possible as well as strive to keep away from such miscommunications,” he said.

Because items in orbit are “impossible to observe,” the risk of mischaracterizing what any nation is doing in space is considerably greater than in the air, he said. For example, a civilian surveillance satellite could be misinterpreted as a hostile counterspace weapon. “We can’t utilize our visual points of reference in space.” We have no choice but to depend on the radar. We have to depend on telescopes, which introduces a measure of risk.”

“At least we will have a dialogue before we make the wrong assumptions if there was a hotline.”  And we don’t have that capability currently. Nevertheless, I believe the model requires a full-fledged debate.” On November 3, Saltzman delivered the keynote address at the Global Milsatcom 2021 event in London. One of the topics, he said, was a desire for more collaboration on space security. “It’s a global concern to create responsible standards and practices.” No single country can do it alone, and there’s a lot of shared potentials that we could tap into.”

He claimed that United States is still “the most competent spacefaring country in terms of the possibilities we have in orbit.” China provides a significant threat. “They understand that if they can steal some of our skills, they can turn the tables on us in terms of strategic advantage,” Saltzman continued. “And there isn’t a single system that poses the greatest threat. It’s all about how quickly they’re creating all of their systems. They’re pursuing such a wide range of counterspace capabilities and high-end technologies that what’s most frightening is the speed with which they’re moving from a ‘nice notion’ to a full-scale capability that’s being demonstrated on orbit.”

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