While ballistic missile defence radars can be used to track satellites and other orbital objects, one part of the US defence system that is used to detect objects in high altitude orbits, the Space Fence radar tracking system is set to be closed down. According to Space News, the head of the US Air Force Space Command, General William Shelton, has ordered the closure of the transmitting and receiving stations of Space Fence as a cost saving measure without a replacement system being ready. The Space Fence tracking system is noted for its ability to track most objects crossing its detection area, and is responsible for the primary detection of a large proportion of spacecraft detected by US Space Command.
Comment by David Todd: While Space Fence is admittedly ”long in the tooth” and uses 1960s-class technology it is still surprisingly effective. Whether due to the budget sequestration or other reasons, closing Space Fence down is a poor military decision. It is effectively “blinding the US Defence system in one eye”. In a dangerous world, this may prove to be a negligent act.