French President Emmanuel Macron announced that he has approved the creation of a space command within the country’s air force in order to beef up its space defence policy and to better protect its strategic interests.
“To ensure the development and reinforcement of our space capabilities, a space command will be created next September in the air force,” Macron told a gathering of military forces on Saturday ahead of the July 14 Bastille Day parade.
“This will eventually become the space and air force, and the necessary new investments will be decided,” he added.
France has a 2019-2025 military spending plan that allocates 3.6 billion euros ($4 billion) to defence in space, Xinhua news agency reported.
Macron noted that “the cyberspace or the exoatmospheric space” had become “new areas of confrontation” that has triggered the need to create “a new military space doctrine” with which France would “ensure the defence of space”.
France’s move to create a space military force came amid high concerns of an arms race in space after the US decided last year to create by 2020 a new space force as the sixth branch of the armed forces.
In February, American President Donald Trump signed a directive that directs the Pentagon to draft legislation on creating a US Space Force, which the White House said is “a bold, strategic step toward guaranteeing American space dominance”.
Yet the creation of a new military branch still requires the approval of Congress.
The Pentagon has laid out plans concerning space force creation last August, including establishing a Space Development Agency “charged with rapidly developing and fielding next-generation capabilities”, a Space Operations Force comprised of career space experts, and a United Combatant Command-level Space Command, which will have the task to “improve and evolve space war fighting”.
The 1967 Outer Space Treaty, approved by over 100 countries, bans deploying weapons of mass destruction in outer space and military activities on celestial bodies.