The United States army with each soldier carrying a satellite radio on the African continent needs more bandwidth since the requirement cannot be fulfilled by the military spacecraft alone. In order to meet with the bandwidth requirements, Pentagon is paying a Chinese satellite firm to help it out with data transfer and communication.
As of now, the U.S. soldiers deployed in Africa are using Apstar-7 satellite for the transference of military information. The Apstar-7 is owned by APT Satellite Holdings Ltd. It is a Chinese state-owned corporation.
Pentagon’s top space official, Douglas Loverro said in a statement that the decision to use a Chinese satellite was necessary as it is the only option available for the US army to meet the bandwidth requirements.
US lawmakers and politicians are questioning the help of Chinese satellite companies to transfer U.S. military information which can be misused once extracted. The U.S.-China Economic and Security Commission in its annual 2012 report cited that development in China’s aircraft carrier technologies and satellite programs are a potential threat to the U.S. army in the western Pacific.
Loverro addressed these concerns beforehand by saying that he was aware of the concerns across America regarding the usage of Chinese satellites to support U.S. warfighter. He said, “We recognize our warfighter needs support and sometimes we must go to the only place we can get it from.”
Previously, Chinese telecommunication companies like Huawei and ZTE were asked to prove in the House intelligence committee that they were not linked to any spy agencies in China because they were accused of being involved in Chinese espionage operations. Though nothing was proved or uncovered, suspicion remained. And now that Pentagon has asked advanced, state-owned Chinese satellite companies to help transfer U.S. military data, a debate has generated among concerned American policy makers and general public.
While some maintain that China will not be able to crack any codes or decrypt any information, there are people who think that there is a possibility of data damage and manipulation.
What is your take on the whole situation? Is manipulation of American military information possible? You can share your opinion in the comments section.