Feb 15, 2024 - World

Next frightening war frontier: Russian nukes in space

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to a television reporter.

Vladimir Putin talks to Russian state TV station Rossiya 1 in Moscow yesterday. Photo: Alexander Kazakov/Sputnik via AP

U.S. officials are warning of Russia's rising ability to station nuclear weapons in space, illuminating the next, scarier frontier of warfare.

Why it matters: The future of war is autonomous weapons, robots, sophisticated artificial intelligence and a race to dominate space. The new intelligence suggests Russia might be gaining a tactical edge in the space race.

  • A space-based nuclear weapon could threaten America's extensive civilian and military satellite network, which transmits billions of bytes of data each hour, the N.Y. Times reports.
  • Russia wouldn't drop the nuclear weapon on Earth, but rather use it against satellites, ABC News explains.

The big picture: The U.S. "does not have the ability to counter such a weapon and defend its satellites," The Times writes. But the threat doesn't appear imminent.

  • Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut, the House Intelligence Committee's top Democrat, said: "No need to buy gold."

Between the lines: House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Turner (R-Ohio) sparked a frenzy Tuesday with a vague statement warning of a "serious national security threat."

  • Turner urged President Biden to declassify the information but didn't provide any details about the threat.

The intrigue: It's unclear why Turner took the extraordinary step of sounding a public alarm before getting a full White House briefing.

  • One theory: Turner wants to jolt fellow Republicans into taking the Russia threat more seriously — and funding Ukraine to wage war against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

What's next: White House officials are scheduled to brief congressional leaders Wednesday.

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