A U.S. Space Force unit has been launched in South Korea as the nation seeks to increase its ability to monitor threats from North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un and others in the region.
The activation of the unit at Osan Air Base near Seoul follows a number of missile launch tests by North Korea which could be capable of striking the U.S. and its allies.
“Today marks the next milestone in strengthening our ironclad commitment to the U.S.-Korean alliance,” Lt. Col. Joshua McCullion, commander of the new unit, said in a statement. “Our U.S. and Republic of Korea alliance was forged more than 70 years ago, as we stood shoulder-to-shoulder in war. With the world around us evolving, so, too, must we.”
— United States Space Force (@SpaceForceDoD) December 14, 2022
Gen. Paul LaCamera, the U.S. Forces Korea commander, presided over the ceremony to inaugurate the new operation.
“The activation here today of U.S. Space Forces Korea, a subcomponent of U.S. Space Forces INDOPACOM, enhances our ability to defend the homelands and ensures peace and security on the Korean peninsula and in Northeast Asia,” LaCamera said.
The Space Force mission will focus on missile warning operations, according to the unit’s description, which provides “in-theater near-real-time detection” and will warn of ballistic missile launches.
“Just 48 miles north of us exists an existential threat; a threat that we must be prepared to deter, defend against, and – if required – defeat,” McCullion said.
The announcement of a stronger U.S. presence in South Korea comes just weeks after the U.S. and South Korea fired several missiles in October following North Korea’s firing of a ballistic missile over Japan.
The Japanese government broadcast a warning after the missile launch. The missile eventually flew beyond Japan and landed in the Pacific Ocean. It marked the fifth missile launch in the 10-day period and was the 23rd launch since the start of the year.
In addition to ongoing threats from North Korea, the new U.S. Space Force unit will be located closer to China. The communist nation recently revealed its latest hypersonic weapon technology.
The new unit also positions the U.S. closer to Russia, whose anti-satellite technology could pose a threat to American military technologies. As The Daily Wire previously reported, Russia has jammed GPS signals throughout its conflict with Ukraine, targeting the U.S. military’s Navstar system of satellites.
In November 2021, the U.S. also criticized Russia for conducting an anti-satellite missile test, which sent debris flying and prompted astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) to take refuge in their spacecraft.
“Russia has demonstrated a deliberate disregard for the security, safety, stability, and long-term sustainability of the space domain for all nations,” U.S. Army Gen. James Dickinson, U.S. Space Command commander, said in a statement.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol announced during a speech last month that he would “expand space security cooperation” with other countries, including the U.S. The nation continues to move forward with other plans for space exploration as well, including a robotic moon landing in 2032 and an unmanned mission to Mars in 2045.
The Space Force was authorized in 2019 by then-President Donald Trump, creating the first new military service since the Army Air Corps officially became the U.S. Air Force in 1947.
The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and Central Command set up space units last month in Hawaii and Florida, according to Reuters.