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Sunday, November 25, 2018, 09:28 (GMT+7)
The establishment of the US Space Force and its impacts on global security

On June 18th 2018, US President Donald Trump decided to establish the US Space Force – the 6th military branch of the United States armed forces. That move has been greatly impacting on the global security and attracting the widespread concern from the public.

The context of the Force’s inception

Over the past 50 years of conquering, exploring and exploiting the outer space, America has been always in the vanguard of this field; it has been deploying modern equipment in the space outside the Earth’s atmosphere to serve the military and civilian purposes, and in fact making giant steps. Those achievements have been applied to hi-tech wars launched by America after the end of the Cold War and proved that the equipment deployed in the space is acting as a determinant to the power of the US armed forces. However, this is not a “playground” dominated by only America. Former Soviet Union and present-day Russia have gained achievements not inferior to those of the US; they have even been superior to America in researching, manufacturing, employing anti-satellite weapons, such as laser weapons, surface-to-air missiles, hypersonic missiles which are capable of penetrating all missile defence systems located on land and in space. China is nurturing its ambitions to quickly catch up with and surpass America in the space technology and science, and even to be able launch attacks from the space. In recent years, China has obtained many achievements in researching, manufacturing and putting advanced equipment into its list of equipment, such as crewed spacecraft, anti-satellite weapons, and the satellite navigation and positioning system which is not dependent on the global positioning systems by America, Russia or European countries.

  President Donald Trump signs the decision to establish the US Space Force        (photo: Chinanews)

Against that backdrop, to take the initiative in the domain of space, particularly against Russia and China, US leaders have ever thought about founding a Space Force. Especially in 2000, the US Military-Reform Commission headed by former Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld proposed a program to establish the Space Force. However, due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the US-led bloody wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, that idea was quickly forgotten. “To make America great again”, US President Donald Trump has made fundamental changes in the US internal and foreign policies. He has advocated building the armed forces into the most powerful army ever in the US history with the decision to found the Space Force playing the pivotal role. According to the Pentagon, the Space Force will be tasked with launching attacks on land targets and intercepting opponents’ ballistic missiles, thereby being able to gain the hegemonic control over the whole space outside the Earth. The Space Force is expected to undertake the task of the Space Command under the US Air Force which supports almost space military operations all over the world. Besides, the U.S. will gather 30,000 experts from various offices and centres for space technology research and establish the Space Development Agency to train space engineers, experts and scientists.

The goals

With the establishment of the Space Force, America is aiming at several following goals in both short and long terms.

First, the U.S. is aiming to vigorously consolidate its military strength, particularly the strength of the Air Force and the Navy, ensuring that all situations will be under the accurate control of the system of modern equipment placed in the space, especially the satellite data system to maintain the superior strength to its potential rivals.

Second, it hopes to gain comprehensive advantage in military field over other major powers, first and foremost Russia and China in order to transform the US Military into the world’s most powerful army in all operations. At present, in spite of the fact that America is among major powers in the domain of space, its defence strength and forces spread to various branches, such the Navy, the Army, the Army and other organizations. Thus, America needs to found the Space Force to achieve the unity of control and command and gain comprehensive advantages in operations.

Third, it is fostering a new arms race to force its rivals to join an unequal competition. Notable, when Russia is surrounded with the US sanctions, and China has to deal with a trade war launched by America, it is a big challenge to the two countries to join the arms race with America. In that context, America will aim at weakening its rivals, particularly the countries which are competing with America for the global hegemony.

Fourth, the establishment of the Space Force will provide the basis for America to pursue the scenarios for the global strike. In 2002, America unilaterally withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty signed by this country and the Soviet Union in 1972 and developed its terminal high attitude missile defence system on a global scale. The “global strike” has been carefully planned with the following scenarios. 1). A major power as a rival to the U.S. in the military field is planning to disturb or even attack to destroy the US system of communications and intelligence in the space; 2). Terrorist groups are discovered using radioactive materials to manufacture “dirty weapons” or being about to use weapons of mass destruction; 3). Preventing a terrorist organization from using weapons of mass destruction against America or its allied countries; 4). Within 24 hours, America will stage a transcontinental pre-emptive strike to annihilate leaders of one or many terrorist organizations who are preparing their meeting in a neutral country that is over 1,500km far away from the US military outposts; 5). Neutralizing nuclear missile attacks from one of the “uncontrollable countries”. To do that, the US Space Force will be one of the organizations which play a decisive role.

Fifth, the establishment of the Space Force will ensure safety and security of operations related to space and economic development. According to the US Defence Secretary James Mattis, the Space Force will not only undertake the missions of the Space Command under the Air Force, but also protect the universe potential, serve the purposes of fighting against potential rivals, particularly Russia and China, and ensure the US safety and security. At the same time, equipment like satellites plays an important role in both military and economic operations of America. Thus, the U.S. has urged its scientists to tap all possible capabilities in science and technology to bring men and military hardware to the Moon and take spaceflights to the Mars in several upcoming decades.

In addition to conquering the universe, ensuring security and facilitating economic development, the US establishment of the Space Force is mainly aimed at boosting military strength and creating superior strength to other countries worldwide.

The impacts on the global security

According to political and military experts worldwide, when founding the Space Force, America has violated the Outer Space Treaty of 1967. According to this Treaty, signatories of the Treaty (including America) will be prohibited from deploying nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction to the Earth’s orbit. Countries are not allowed to test their weapons in the space or build military bases on the Moon and other planets. This Treaty is of significance to maintaining international security and peace but goes against the US ambition to control and militarize the universe. The US system of missile defence under the control of the Space Force will be a stimulant to the race of missile development all over the world and in fact ignite a new arms race. The US capability in launching global strike proves that Washington is seeking to break the balance of power and dominate the world with its ambition to win victory in a nuclear war. Therefore, the US decision to found the Space Force has encountered fierce opposition from many countries worldwide, especially Russia and China. Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov accused the U.S. of the development of weapons deployed in the universe which would push the world towards a new type of war.

Since 2008, Russia and China have submitted their proposals for a Treaty to prohibit militarizing the universe to the UN Security Council for many times. Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that Russia would not let the U.S. engage this country in a new arms race, adding that it would definitely seek to neutralize the US strategic advantage via less expensive but much more effective solutions and even develop unique defensive systems. At present, Russia possesses missiles which could immediately respond to the enemy’s pre-emptive strikes and penetrate all existing missile defence systems of the US. Thus, Russia has announced for many times that the US ambition to gain the absolute advantage over Russia in the domain of space is a dream only. China also believes that the US strategy to gain the comprehensive advantage in the universe is a mirage. China has quickly gained a lot of achievements in the aerospace industry. Especially, it has succeeded in manufacturing anti-satellite weapons which have been rated as advanced as those made by the U.S. and the West. Moreover, as China’s economy is under the State’s management, Beijing could focus its resources on key fields, including the military aerospace in a bid to neutralize the US advantage.

The inception of the US Space Force will pose the increasing threats to the global security. That situation has revealed that a world of peace and stability for the co-development as expected by most of the people all over the world is still out of the reach. It is believed that peace, stability and development in the world will greatly depend on a sense of unity on a global scale, especially among major powers.

Sr. Col. Le The Mau

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