Osan Air Force Base, South Korea
The U.S. military launched its first Space Force command on foreign soil in South Korea on Wednesday, and the force’s new commander said he was ready to face any threat in the region.
The creation of U.S. Space Force Korea makes the newest branch of the U.S. military appear officially on the Korean peninsula for the first time, as North Korea tests ballistic missiles at a record pace and China has been building up its ballistic missile force.
According to USFK, the new unit “is tasked with coordinating space operations and services such as missile warning, positioning, navigation and timing, and satellite communications in the region.”
The launch of the new unit took place at a hangar at Osan Air Force Base in Pyeongtaek, 65 kilometers (40 miles) south of Seoul, where the US 7th Air Force is based.
Asked what potential adversaries like Beijing or Pyongyang could gain from the formation of the force, Lt. Col. Joshua McAlean, commander of South Korea’s space force, said he hoped it would have a deterrent effect. “Hopefully they see that we are ready,” he said.
“My guardian and I are ready, day or night,” he said, using the official term for members of the U.S. Space Force.
“That’s the (information) we want our opponents to accept, whoever they are.”
The new force, which launched 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,” McCallion acknowledged.
But he said no one should underestimate the force’s capabilities.
“We’re a young force and that’s part of the game we’re playing right now. We just have to build and grow.”
Brig. Gen. Anthony Mastaril, who introduced the new unit at Wednesday’s ceremony, said it was an example of “integrated deterrence” that showcased the “unrivaled” projection of power by the United States and its allies on land, sea, air and now capabilities in space.
“This new command will ensure that the space capabilities supporting integrated deterrence are ready to operate tonight,” Mastalil said, adding that the force is ready to face any adversary in the new command’s area of operations.
U.S. Army Gen. Paul LaCamera, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, noted that both China and Russia have developed anti-satellite capabilities, while North Korea and Iran are opposing U.S. interests in space.