U.S. Forces Korea launched a new space forces unit in December 2022 as allies South Korea and the United States ramp up efforts to counter North Korea’s evolving nuclear and missile threats.
U.S. Space Forces Korea is an overseas component of the U.S. Space Force and is tasked with detecting and tracking incoming missiles, as well as bolstering the military’s overall space capability.
U.S. Forces Korea commander Gen. Paul LaCamera said the unit will enhance the U.S.’s ability to ensure peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia.
“The U.S. military is faster, better connected, more informed, precise and legal because of space,” LaCamera said during a ceremony at Osan Air Base in South Korea.
Seoul and Washington are boosting security cooperation to deter North Korea, which conducted a record number of missile launches in 2022, including of intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.
The Republic of Korea Air Force also established a space unit in December 2022 to bolster its space power and operational capability with the U.S. Space Force.
U.S. officials have expressed concern over rising security activity in space, including the People’s Republic of China’s development of hypersonic weapons and Russia’s test of anti-satellite technology in 2021.
About 28,500 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea under a mutual defense treaty forged after the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice.
U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and U.S. Central Command established space units in November 2022 in Hawaii and Florida, respectively. Reuters