Defense space policy chief calls Russia’s space nuke threat “a thing apart” | Space

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WASHINGTON — John Plumb, the outgoing assistant secretary of defense for space policy, said the Pentagon views Russia’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon for use in space as a deeply troubling threat, one that stands apart from other feared “counterspace” weapons being developed by Moscow, Beijing and others.

In an interview with SpaceNews, Plumb said the United States has spent decades developing strategies to deal with anticipated anti-satellite weapons. But Russia’s development of what U.S. intelligence believes to be a space-based nuclear weapon amounts to “a thing apart” that must be dealt with differently because of its indiscriminate effects if it were ever deployed.

“The weaker a state is in its conventional military force, the more it will rely on nuclear weapons,” Plumb said of Russia’s motivations, even though its president has denied it is pursuing space-based nuclear arms.

“Russia is exhausting a lot of their conventional force on the Ukrainian front,” Plumb added, so here it is again playing the nuclear card.

While lacking the ability to deploy satellites as extensively as the United States and China, Russia could use such an orbiting nuclear weapon to cripple America’s satellite networks. “It’s egregious,” Plumb said.

More analysis needed

While the United States conducted the high-altitude Starfish Prime…


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