Pence says US threats in space from Russia and China are escalating

He also said the US “seeks peace through force”

Pence says US threats in space from Russia and China are escalating

Threats to the United States in outer space from Russia and China are growing. US Vice President Michael Pence made this assertion on Friday at the White House gala event to mark the upcoming first anniversary of the founding of the US Space Force.

“The reality is that the United States <…> faces new threats in space from countries like China and Russia. And these threats are only growing”, –  said the US deputy chief of staff. – “We were reminded of that only this week when Russia launched another anti-satellite missile”, –  Pence said. He said, however, that the US “seeks peace through force”.

He went on to announce that Air Force members would be formally called “sentinels” (like soldiers in the Army or sailors in the Navy, for example). American social media users responded to the decision with numerous mocking comments and jokes, drawing parallels with the Hollywood comedy-fantasy film Guardians of the Galaxy. The force itself explained that the decision was a reference to the original US Air Force Space Command motto from 1983, “Guardians of the High Frontier”.

On Wednesday, the Pentagon accused Russia of testing an anti-satellite direct intercept missile. On 16 April, the US issued a similar statement. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova then called the statements of US Space Forces Commander General John Raymond “a purposeful campaign initiated by Washington to discredit Russian space activities and peaceful initiatives to prevent an arms race in outer space.” It reiterated Russia’s readiness to discuss space activities with representatives of interested agencies and organisations on both sides.

The US Space Force was established on 20 December 2019. They were the sixth branch of the United States Armed Forces and the first to be created since its modern structure was formed in 1947. They are expected to have around 16,000 personnel from the Air Force and Navy. The Washington administration has repeatedly declared that the US should consider space as a theatre of military operations. According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, this U.S. position requires increased attention to strengthening the domestic orbital constellation of satellites, as well as the rocket and space industry as a whole. Putin stressed that Russia was and is against the militarization of space.

According to Pence, “in eight months more than 2,000 servicemen” transferred to the Space Forces. “And I was told that another 3,600 <…> have already started filling out transfer papers <…>,” he added.

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