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NOAA Photo Library via Flickr CC

The Air Force has developed a new strategy to increase its capability to fight a war in space. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein said the changes announced Tuesday were to "ensure we can organize, train, and equip our space forces to have the skills necessary to operate in a contested environment, defend our systems, and assure space missions and space superiority."

Context: Congress has been pressuring the Air Force to take a potential war in space more seriously, and Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee, has even called for the development of a "Space Force" separate from the Air Force. As Rogers said: "It is all too clear that our military is not organized and prepared to fight and win a war in space."

Why it matters: Retired Major General Charlie Dunlap tells Axios:

"A key reason that the US military is the dominant armed force in the world today is space. So much of what makes it uniquely lethal is its ability to use satellites not only to gather intelligence from every place on the planet, but also to instantly command and control its forces anywhere on the globe. In addition, precision-guided weapons use global positioning satellites to precisely apply force."
  • Threats: Russia and China are increasingly militarizing their space capabilities, and Russia in particular "represents a clear and present danger," according to Defense One. Military.com reports that space operators have seen adversaries attempting to disrupt U.S. signals in recent years.
  • Vulnerabilities: "It's not too much to say that the loss of our space assets would be devastating for our economy," Dunlap said. An inability to fight in space could lead to attacks on U.S. military and government satellites or GPS systems, for example, which are essential for cell phones and transportation.

1 fun thing: Space weapons can include satellite jammers, lasers, and high-power microwave gun systems, per CNBC.

Go deeper

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

1 dead after pickup truck hits Pride spectators in Florida

Police investigate the scene where a pickup truck drove into a crowd of people at a Pride parade in Wilton Manors, Florida, on Saturday. Photo: Jason Koerner/Getty Images

A driver in a pickup truck hit spectators at a Pride festival in Wilton Manors, Florida, killing a man and leaving another person hospitalized Saturday, authorities said.

Details: Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis told reporters police had "apprehended the driver" and that the vehicle missed a parade car carrying Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) "by inches."

Updated 8 hours ago - Sports

Uganda Olympic team member tests positive for COVID in Tokyo

The Uganda National boxing team's Catherine Nanziri (L) and others arrive for check-in at Entebbe international airport in Wakiso, Uganda on Friday, ahead of their departure to participate in the Tokyo Olympic Games. Photo: Badru Katumba/AFP via Getty Images

A Uganda Olympic team member tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Japan late Saturday, officials said.

Why it matters: Japan's government has faced criticism for vowing to host the Tokyo Games next month as coronavirus cases rise. The Ugandan team is the second to arrive in Japan after the Australian women's softball players, and this is the first COVID-19 infection detected among the Olympic athletes, Al Jazeera notes.

Updated 12 hours ago - World

In photos: Brazilians rally against Bolsonaro as COVID deaths top 500,000

A June 19 protest in São Paulo, Brazil, against the administration of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has railed against precautionary health measures despite the soaring COVID-19 death rate and cases. Photo: Rodrigo Paiva/Getty Images

Demonstrators took to the streets in at least 22 of Brazil’s 26 states to protest President Jair Bolsonaro's handling of the pandemic — as deaths from COVID-19 in the country surged past 500,000 Saturday, per AP.

The big picture: Brazil has the world's second-highest coronavirus death toll and third-highest number of reported cases. Only 12% of the country's population has been vaccinated against the virus, AP notes.