Cape Canaveral (Florida), from where the Apollo mission rocket was launched by NASA in 1969, became the headquarters of the U.S. Space Force Station together with Patrick Base, also in Florida. At the inaugural ceremony on 9 December, Vice President Mike Pence announced: “Our Space Force is getting stronger every day.”
U.S. Space Force is a new branch of the U.S. Armed Forces and was established in December 2019. Its mission is to “protecting U.S. and allied interests in space, acquiring military space systems, developing space military professionals, maturing the military doctrine for space power, organising space forces to present to our Combatant Commands.”
The central task of this new Force was explicitly stated by President Trump, announcing its imminent constitution in August 2019: “To ensure American domination in space, the next war battlefield.”
In the wake of the new U.S. Space Force, NATO launched a military space program, prepared by the Pentagon and by a restricted European military summit together with the major Aerospace Industries. The importance of space is demonstrated by the fact that there are currently about 2,800 operational artificial satellites in orbit around the Earth. Over 1,400 of them are American. China is in second place with over 380 satellites, Russia comes third with just over 170. Most satellites, over 1,000, are commercial. Then come those for military, government, and civil use (the latter two types are often used also for military activities).
In addition, there are about 6,000 inactive satellites that continue to orbit the Earth, along with millions of objects and fragments of different sizes. Space is more and more crowded and more and more disputed. The giants of telecommunications, stock exchanges, large financial and commercial groups operate in space with their satellites. The number of satellites is predicted to increase five times within this decade, mainly 5G technology operated. The 5G commercial network, created by private companies, can be used for military purposes, hypersonic weapons particularly at a much lower expense. In this context, it is understandable why the United States formed its Space Force. The U.S. power played the card of military strength also in space, seeing the economic and technological margin of advantage decrease, especially with respect to China. The goal is clear: to dominate space and maintain not only military but also economic and technological superiority.
The outcome of this strategy is equally clear. Since 2008, Russia and China have repeatedly proposed to the United Nations a new treaty (after the 1967 treaty) that prohibits weapons’ deployment in space, but the U.S. always rejected it. Russia and China are therefore preparing for a military confrontation in space having the ability. The constitution of the U.S. Space Force, therefore, triggers a new even more dangerous phase of the arms race, including nuclear weapons. From the use of space systems for espionage, military telecommunications, missile guidance, bombs, and drones, we move on to weapon systems that, placed in space, can blind the enemy’s satellites before an attack and destroy land targets, such as entire cities directly from space.
All this is covered under the hood of media silence. No voices of criticism or dissent arise from the political, scientific, academic, and cultural worlds. At the same time, financing from governments and arms industries to scientific institutes and universities for researches, which are often disguised as civilian, increases, and serves the development of military space systems. The only voices echo that of the new U.S. Space Force, which explains how space is “essential to our security and prosperity in our daily lives, even when we use our credit card at the gas pumps.” •
Source: “Il piano USA di Dominio dello spezio”, in: il manifesto of 15 December 2020
*Manlio Dinucci is geographer and geopolitical scientist. His latest books are “Laboratorio di geografia”, Zanichelli 2014 ; “Diario di viaggio”, Zanichelli 2017; “L’arte della guerra. Annali della strategia USA/NATO 1990–2016”, Zambon 2016; “Guerra nucleare. Il giorno prima. Da Hiroshima a oggi: chi e come ci porta alla catastrofe,” Zambon 2017; “Diario di guerra. Escalation verso la catastrofe (2016–2018)”, Asterios Editores 2018.
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