"The Chinese are developing the capability to attack our satellite network; the Russians already have it - and terrorists would love to get it.
Over the years, a number of analysts, such as Lt.-Col. John A. Gentry (ret.) and Prof. William A. Wulf, have tried to raise the alarm about aspects of our "high-tech" Maginot Line - but the warnings never really stuck.
The ultimate vulnerability would come from a globe-spanning war with a power like China. Beijing has no intention of speeding out of its harbors to provide pop-up targets for the U.S. Navy. The Chinese are developing asymmetrical means to fight us on the broadest possible front - not least, striking our homeland in innovative ways.
Beijing has already tested an anti-satellite weapon, and it's honing its cyber-attack skills to interfere with satellite transmissions and data processing.
What happens if we lose key links in our satellite system? We lose our strategic early-warning capability. We lose our ability to track enemy movements. We lose our ability to communicate, from the dirty-boots level to the National Command Authority.
The Global Positioning System goes away. Most of our hyperexpensive weapons systems can't hit their targets - we lose the precision-guided bombs and cruise missiles without which the Air Force and Navy can no longer fight.
And that's just the military side of things. Try daily life without satellite communications.
The Pentagon's aware of this threat - but, like the interwar French military establishment, refuses to treat it with adequate seriousness: We've spent so much money on weapons and support systems that rely on satellites that we "just say no" when it comes to contemplating a war in which the crucial link in our arsenal goes away.
And satellites are the crucial link. Digitized information is to sophisticated 21st-century militaries what petroleum was to the armies of the last century. Turn off the tap, and the war machine grinds to a halt.
Despite some classified programs underway, we're basically counting on our enemies to play nice and leave our satellites unmolested. Well, good luck. Nor do those $100,000-a-page ads that defense contractors run in the print media (ultimately billed to you, the taxpayer) ever explain that the "Network-centric Warfare" they tout fades to black if the satellites go down..."
Psst? Ralphie? Now, your concerns are genuine, pally. No doubt about it. But don't dismiss those "classified programs underway" so blithely, because I know what you're doing. Lots of ex-military folk were declaring the sky was falling just to get the Pentagon to at long last admit that the SR-71 was for real, and its an old ploy to force the military into divulging at least SOME of their super dee super new toys. YOU know they're out there, Ralphie but you're just going to have to wait like the rest of us. Well, probably not. Some of your old cronies still in high places will eventually drop you a bigass hint or two or three, then you'll move on to something else, happy that you now know more than the rest of us. But dissing the military like this just to get someone to show you a blueprint is bad theater, Ralphie. Scares the soccer moms and do we REALLY need them more agitated than they already are?