Posted with permission from Newsweek

Russia and China are building space weapons in order to target U.S. satellites, according to a U.S. general responsible for overseeing military operations in space.

Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum in California on Saturday, Gen. John Hyten said the weapons capable of targeting U.S. military satellites in space were being built in order to “challenge the balance of power in the world.”

"They've been building weapons, testing weapons, building weapons to operate from the earth in space, jamming weapons, laser weapons, and they have not kept it secret," said Hyten, the head of US Strategic Command, who oversees all military operations in space, told CNN.

"They're building those capabilities to challenge the United States of America, to challenge our allies, and to change the balance of power in the world. We cannot allow that to happen,” he added.

The general commented that Russia and China were both aware of the U.S.’ satellite capabilities and wanted to target them in order to prevent America from being able to use them to detect missiles being used in conflicts.

“Every missile that comes off the planet is seen first by one of our overhead missile warning capabilities," Gen. Hyten said, explaining why a threat to such satellite systems was such a threat to the U.S.

Indeed, given the current tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, the threat to U.S. satellites should be taken seriously, added Rep. Mike Rogers, a member of the House Armed Services Committee who spoke with Hyten at the defense forum.

“Most folks aren't thinking about the fact that our first way of detecting a launch by North Korea, so that we can turn our radars to start tracking it and start aiming our interceptors to be able to get it in time, is a satellite up there waiting for that heat signature," Rogers said.