US Space Force Stands Up New Unit In Allied Nation To Keep Close Eye On Menacing Neighbor

Song Kyung-Seok/Pool via REUTERS

Alyssa Blakemore Contributor
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The United States activated a new space force unit in South Korea Wednesday to counter mounting threats from North Korea.

Creation of the new U.S. Space Forces Korea follows North Korea’s October test launch of two cruise missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. A missile test carried out in November by Pyong Yang involved an intercontinental missile capable of striking the U.S. mainland, prompting strong condemnation from the United States and an emergency meeting among world leaders.

“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,” said Lt. Col. Joshua McCullion, chief of the new space unit, according to The Associated Press (AP). (RELATED: US Holds Joint Military Drills With South Korea Amid North Korean, Chinese Threats)

The new unit operates from Osan Air Base in Seoul and will receive, process and analyze data and information received from U.S. satellites, The AP reported. A primary mission of U.S. Force South Korea will detection and warning of ballistic missile launches, according to the outlet.

U.S. Forces Korea commander Gen. Paul LaCamera emphasized the new unit’s role in enhancing peace and security on the Korean peninsula and surrounding region, Reuters reported. “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.

South Korea joined the United States in its own launch of a space unit this month to keep a close watch on its northern neighbor.