The next wars might be fought in outer space. Not in a cool way like zooming around in an X-Wing going, "pew pew pew." Not even like Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative (derisively nicknamed Star Wars) which was proposed in 1982 for the purpose of stopping Soviet nukes FROM SPACE!
No, I'm talking about a scary situation that would completely change the way we, as civilians, live our lives, and how it could potentially revert our lives back to the pre-digital age. I'm talking about a coordinated attack against a nation's satellites.
Look, we all know that satellites are an important part of our lives, but you may not know the real magnitude of their role.
The first thing that would happen for civilians would be the loss of data on their phones. You could still make calls on your cell phone - at least at first - but your data would be gone. As the day progressed you'd find that internet and cell phone service would become more and more tenuous. This is because there are backup towers to support these things on the ground, but they are not expected to support usage for an entire population. These are vital aspects of our modern life, and if the right satellites go down, then they're gone.
One crippling loss to our civilization would be the debilitation of the Global Positioning System, our GPS. Yes, we've all come accustomed to Google navigating our way to work (even though we've driven the route a hundred times), but GPS plays a much more critical role in our society than you might anticipate. The GPS technology is basically a satellite with an extremely accurate atomic clock (side bar, time is no longer measured at the celestial level, but at the atomic level. Check it out.)
So because the GPS technology is basically a super accurate clock, it would be a waste to use it solely for purpose of telling you where the closest iHop is. GPS is responsible for coordinating our highly time sensitive society. This includes our financial systems, water treatment plants, traffic lights, and most worrisome... the cloud.
No not the cloud!
Right? I mean forget about not being able to make any purchases, take out any money, and having to boil our water - what about the cloud?!
And because GPS coordinates the packets of data on a timely basis our internet would eventually crash completely.
Okay, so this is what's at stake, so why would a foreign power make such a blatant attack on a nation's civilian base? Well, because the civilians are just collateral damage.
Enter the brand new powerful aggressor state that we all need to worry about - Rusinastan. How did I come up with this name? It's not important. The important thing to know is that they are a nuclear capable nation with a strong economy and a prevalent space program. They have an interesting and eventful history that we're not going to cover here, and boy, do they hate The West. Rusinastan has decided to invade the United States.
Rusinastan is a pragmatic and secretive nation by nature, so they are organizing their attack very quietly, and they've developed a plan. They know that while the United States does boast the most powerful and sophisticated military the world has ever seen, they are also hopelessly dependant on satellites. From drones, to the navy, to just basic communication, the United States needs its satellites, and this is something of which Rusinastan is keenly aware. Soon Rusinastan will launch their coordinated attack on American satellites and the U.S. will be impotent. After that, Rusinastan will mount a ground invasion before the majority of Americans even know what's happening.
Anti satellite weapons are being produced. Countries like the United States, China, Russia, and yes - Rusinastan have all successfully tested such weapons.
Don't panic, this is a line that nations are careful to cross. First, satellites are so integrated that if a nation takes out a number of an opponent's satellites, they will surely face complications with their own systems as well. Second, once you're the first to attack, who knows how your enemy will retaliate?
Still it's something to think about. Especially because of those Rusinstanian bastards.