Breaking Defense cites the Atlantic Council for hosting an event with General William L. Shelton, commander of US Air Force Space Command:
Watch the skies. While they’re far from falling, the head of Air Force Space Command said today, the heavens aren’t the “peaceful sanctuary” they once were, either. Nothing short of a nuclear missile could pull the plug on a satellite constellation as robust as the Global Positioning System (GPS), Gen. William Shelton said, semi-reassuringly. But American policymakers, commanders, and citizens need to stop relying blithely on 100 percent performance from space systems, he went on, because potential adversaries pack an increasingly sophisticated arsenal that ranges from computer viruses to jamming to lasers to anti-satellite missiles.
“Space has really become a utility. You plug in, take it for granted, and don’t even think about where the services came from,” Shelton said this morning at the Atlantic Council. Smart bombs, cell phones, and high finance all rely on GPS, for example. (The financial transactions use the GPS signal for precision timing, not location). Spy satellites are playing a role — Shelton wouldn’t say what — in figuring out who really shot down Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 over the Ukraine. Even ground troops have come to depend on satellite bandwidth to communicate, track each others’ locations, and watch video from drones.