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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

In photos: D.C. and U.S. states on alert for pre-inauguration violence

National Guard troops stand behind security fencing with the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building behind them, on Jan. 16. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Security has been stepped up in Washington, D.C., and state capitols across the U.S. as authorities brace for potential violence this weekend.

Driving the news: Following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by some supporters of President Trump, the FBI has said there could be armed protests in D.C. and in all 50 state capitols in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The new Washington

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Axios subject-matter experts brief you on the incoming administration's plans and team.

Rep. Lou Correa tests positive for COVID-19

Lou Correa. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) announced on Saturday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Correa is the latest Democratic lawmaker to share his positive test results after last week's deadly Capitol riot. Correa did not shelter in the designated safe zone with his congressional colleagues during the siege, per a spokesperson, instead staying outside to help Capitol Police.