Aug. 16 (UPI) -- Just days after the Trump administration proposed a Space Force as a new branch of the military, U.S. officials say they're concerned about "very abnormal behavior" involving a Russian satellite.
The satellite, launched in October, is displaying behavior "inconsistent" with the kind of satellite Russia says it is, said Yleem D.S. Poblete, assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance .
Poblete suggested the satellite could be a weapon.
"We don't know for certain what it is, and there is no way to verify it," he said Wednesday at a disarmament conference in Switzerland.
Poblete said the United States has serious concerns about Russia's push to launch weapons in space, including anti-satellite weapons that can target those used for business, scientific and military purposes.
"The Russian pursuit of counterspace capabilities is consistent with these other activities and is disturbing given the recent pattern of Russian malign behavior," Poblete said.
Russia denies the satellite is a weapon, but some U.S. officials are not yet convinced.
"Our Russian colleagues will deny that its systems are meant to be hostile," Poblete continued. "But it is difficult to determine an object's true purpose simply by observing it on orbit.
"So that leads to the question: is this, again, enough information to verify and assess whether a weapon has or has not been tested in orbit? The United States does not believe it is."
Speaking at the Pentagon, Pence pushed for American dominance in space and warned of dangers from potential foes. His remarks came nearly two months after President Donald Trump signed a directive ordering the Department of Defense to create the new military branch.