Defense Policy Board to meet about Chinese and Russian space weapons

By Tony Bertuca / August 26, 2022 at 11:12 AM

An influential Pentagon advisory board is scheduled to meet next month to receive classified briefings on Chinese and Russian space weapons.

The Sept. 6-7 meeting of the Defense Policy Board at the Pentagon will be closed to the public and will focus on “how China and Russia's potential development of fractional orbital bombardment systems and space-to-ground weapons could impact U.S. deterrence and strategic stability, as well as to consider U.S. response options to the potential development of such capabilities by any adversary, and participate in a classified Pacific-theater tabletop exercise,” according to a Federal Register notice.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is slated to address the board, along with Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks and Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl.

Additionally, the board will receive classified briefings on Chinese and Russian space policy, doctrine and capabilities from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy John Plumb, U.S. Space Command and the Missile Defense Agency.

The board will also receive a State Department briefing on “perspectives of strategic stability and arms control” as well as provide advice and recommendations on a classified Pacific theater tabletop exercise.

Meanwhile, China unexpectedly demonstrated a fractional orbital bombardment system last year, with Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley characterizing it as a near-"Sputnik moment."

The Defense Policy Board was re-established last September following a “zero-base” review and allegations that former President Trump had removed members and installed political loyalists.

The board’s current membership includes former Defense Secretary Ash Carter, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michèle Flournoy, retired Army four-star Jack Keane and others.