Macron plans to set up a military space command

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French President Emmanuel Macron has announced the creation of a military space command. “To ensure the development and strengthening of our capabilities in space, a large space command will be created within the Air Force next September,” Macron said on 13 June 2019 during a speech to military personnel in Paris. He spoke on the eve of the French National Day. Sunday’s celebrations this year will be dedicated to European defence.

Space is a “new area of confrontation”, Macron said. He had approved an amendment to the military doctrine that would “enable us to defend ourselves in space and out of space”. It is also about better protection of French satellites. The air force will soon become an air and space force, the president said and announced corresponding investments.

Last December US President Donald Trump had ordered the formation of the United States Space Command, which is to bundle previous space activities of other commands under one roof. The goal is to establish a United States Space Force by the end of 2020 as the sixth US partial force. Countries such as Russia, China and India are also expanding their capabilities for space wars.

NATO adopted its first space strategy in June. In doing so, the military alliance wants to prepare itself for the fact that wars could also be decided in space in the future – for example through attacks on strategically important satellites or the use of weapons in space.

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Mette Frederiksen is a The Washington Newsday correspondent. With her coverage of general science, NASA and the interface between technology and society, Frederiksen has been in the Science Desk's Technology Beat since joining Washington Newsday in 2018.

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