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French President Emmanuel Marcon announced a response to President Donald Trump’s U.S. Space Force. France will put one together too, he said, for national defense, of course. President Marcon says he’s doing this to protect the nation’s satellites.
France’s current satellites are Syracuse satellites that the country uses to communicate with its troops abroad. They want to install cameras into new Syracuse satellites that can detect “threats in space, such as anti-satellite weapons.” After the cameras are installed, according to Florence Parly, France’s Minister of Defense, said that they’ll install machine guns and lasers into the satellites so that they’ll be able to “disable or destroy” enemy satellites. Their plan for the space force says it should be fully deployed by 2030.
This idea is very different from President Trump’s Space Force, for which he signed an executive order named Space Policy Directive-4 (SPD-4). According to the report, it ordered:
“…The Pentagon to establish the Space Force as the sixth branch of the United States military, to go along with the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.”
Apparently, President Trump is looking to dominate space before any other country can.
One of the biggest problems with both of these plans is that they may very well be against international law. According to the Outer Space Treaty, a military presence in space is allowed but is extremely restricted in what it can do. The U.S. both signed and ratified the treaty along with numerous other countries — including France.
According to the treaty:
“[It] prevents any nation from declaring sovereignty over space or heavenly bodies and prohibits space-faring countries from blocking other nations from exploring space.”
Countries are also prohibited from testing nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction. Then there’s the fact that neither the U.S. Secretary of Defense at the time, Gen. James Mattis and the Secretary of the Air Force, Heather Wilson, thought the Space Force was a good idea.
While President Trump’s militarization and weaponizing of space may violate that treaty and all good sense, France says it’s doesn’t. Parly said the country has no intention of conducting “space battles,” or starting a space race, and added that:
“We will conduct a reasoned arsenalization.”
And France is increasing its air force’s budget by about $780 million to do it to pay for the extra personnel and the merging of its military branches, while President Trump has yet to address the potential cost of the U.S. version.
The mergers will see personnel from various military and non-military branches working together eventually by 2025 in the country’s new Air Force Space Operations Center.
France is also working on nanosatellites, something that Parly says she hopes to deploy by 2023. And, she says, she hopes to also incorporate satellite launchers that can deploy replacement satellites quickly in case some are ever destroyed by enemy threats, according to the report.
Whether for legitimate national defense reasons or simply to try and take control of our space resources, we have to wonder who will get to it first — and ultimately, will it be legal?
Check out this hypothesis of what a space war would look like realistically:
Featured Image: Screenshot via YouTube Video