French president Emmanuel Macron announced on Saturday the creation of a new national command for military space forces that will ultimately be part of his country's air force.
The statement – made on the eve of the French national holiday in Bastille Day with a military parade along the Champs-Elysées in Paris – reflects an initiative in the US that is defended by President Donald Trump.
"To ensure the development and enhancement of our space capabilities, a high space concept will be created in September," Macron told military buyer who had been gathered for a traditional pre-Bastille Day reception. He called the renewed military focus on space a "real national security issue."
Last year Macron had talked about the need for a space strategy and this was the result, he said.
"The new spatial and military doctrine proposed to me by the (defense) ministry, which I have approved, will enable us to safeguard our defense of space …", he added. "We will strengthen our knowledge of the situation in space, we will better protect our satellites, also in an active way," he said.
Defense Minister Florence Parly was to announce details of the financing at a later date, he added. France's declared interest in boosting its military readiness in space follows increased spending and interest in the area by the United States, China and Russia.
Observers see military activities – including espionage satellites, localization and jamming, communication and cyber attacks – increasingly being set up in orbit around the earth.
France has a military spending plan from 2019-2025 that allocates 3.6 billion euros ($ 4 billion) to space defense.
This includes the renewal of the CSO observation in France and the Syracuse communication satellites, the launch of three CERES electromagnetic monitoring satellites and the modernization of a spatial radar surveillance system called GRAVES.
The Pentagon has drawn up plans for a new Space Faculty on orders from Trump who has declared space a "war zone". But that project still requires approval from the US Congress.
In March, the United Nations-sponsored talks stopped in Geneva to prevent an arms race in space without agreement.
Parly announced last month research into the new generation of military satellites at the Paris air show. French operations can no longer do without presence in space "to make a decisive contribution to our autonomy of evaluation, decision-making and action," she said.
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