WASHINGTON — The August test of a Chinese space-based hypersonic missile is unlikely to trigger an arms race, but could influence the White House and Defense Department’s effort to shape new missile defense and nuclear posture strategies, experts say.
Top military officials gave clues in the late summer and early fall that they knew this event, which was first reported by the Financial Times, was happening.
Gen. Glen VanHerck, the U.S. Northern Command chief, in a speech at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama, in August, briefly mentioned China had “just demonstrated” a “very fast” hypersonic vehicle. At the time, he said he couldn’t provide more detail, but noted the demonstration would challenge current threat warning systems.
And new Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall told reporters last month at the U.S. Air Force Association’s annual conference that China has the ability to conduct global strikes from space.
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