Western powers must be prepared to defend their space satellite assets against attacks from potential adversaries like Russia and China, the US Secretary of the Air Force said at an event on Tuesday.
Space is no longer the preserve of the largest and richest nations, Heather Wilson explained.
"Our satellite systems were designed when space was a benign environment, [but] they're actually quite fragile things," said Ms Wilson.
At the time, US satellite systems did not include designs for self-defence mechanisms as they were not deemed necessary, she added.
For said reason, Ms Wilson explained there is a new need to rethink how to incorporate defence designs into satellites.
"If a conflict extends into space, our satellites must be able to take a punch and fight back."
The US Secretary of the Air Force also remarked that the United States is ready to "fight back" in the event of an anti-satellite attack.
Ms Wilson was speaking at the launch of the Policy Exchange Space Policy Unit in London, UK.
The think tank's new unit champions the development of UK space power as a critical component of national interests.
"Our goal is to take Britain’s space ambitions to the next level, and to build a strong, exciting vision for UK in space that can be taken up by Government and Parliament in the years ahead," said the Policy Exchange in a press release. The new unit will be led by Gabriel Elefteriu, Policy Exchange’s Head of Space Policy, and will look to engage with partners from across industry, government, academia and the not-for-profit sector.