Osan Air Base, South Korea
The US military activated its first Space Force command on foreign soil Wednesday in South Korea, with the unit’s new commander saying he is ready to deal with any threat in the region.
The creation of US Space Forces Korea gives the newest branch of the US military its first official presence on the Korean Peninsula at a time when North Korea has been testing ballistic missiles at a record pace and China has been building up its ballistic missile forces.
The new unit “will be responsible for coordinating space operations and services such as missile warning, position and weather navigation, and satellite communications within the region,” according to US Forces Korea.
A ceremony to launch the new unit took place in a hangar at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, 65 kilometers (40 miles) south of Seoul, where the US 7th Air Force is based.
Asked what potential adversaries such as Beijing or Pyongyang might pull from the unit’s formation, the commander of the Korean Space Forces, Lt. Col. Joshua McCullion said he hoped it would have a deterrent effect. “The hope is that they see we’re ready,” he said.
“Me and my guardians are ready to go, day or night,” he said, using the official term for members of the US Space Force.
“That’s (the message) we want the opponent, whoever the opponent is, to take.”
McCullion acknowledged that the new force, established as a separate military branch in December 2019, has been the subject of media satire, with some mocking its relative youth and comparing it to “Star Trek.”
But he said no one should underestimate the force’s capabilities.
“We’re a young force, that’s exactly part of the game we’re playing right now. We just have to build and grow.”
Brig. January Anthony Mastalir, who unveiled the new unit at Wednesday’s ceremony, said it was an example of “integrated deterrence” that showed the “unmatched” ability of the US and its allies to project power on land, at sea, in the air and now in space. . .
“This new command will ensure that the space capabilities that enable integrated deterrence are ready to fight tonight,” Mastalir said, adding that the force is ready to engage any adversary in the new area of operations. command
US Army General Paul LaCamera, commander of US Forces Korea, noted that both China and Russia have developed anti-satellite capabilities, while North Korea and Iran were working against the interests of USA in space.