Shanahan said that the U.S. Military "is not moving fast enough to stay ahead" of its rivals China and Russia in the space race. He warned that both countries have already acquired weapon technologies with the intent to strike American spy satellites in the event of conflict.
"The PLA [Chinese People's Liberation Army] is also deploying directed-energy weapons, and we expect them to field a ground-based laser system aimed at low-earth orbit space sensors by next year," Shanahan told the audience. "They are also prepared to use cyber attacks against our space systems and have deployed an operational ground-based ASAT [anti-satellite] missile system."
He said that current U.S missile defense shields are "not capable of tracking" Chinese and Russian hypersonic missiles.
"Because of their actions, space is no longer a sanctuary — it is now a war-fighting domain. This is not a future or theoretical threat; this is today's threat," Shanahan said.