WASHINGTON – The United States Space Force will soon have more company. On Saturday, on the day before Bastille Day celebrations in Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron announced the creation of a French space force command within the French air force – quite similar to President Donald Trump's initiative.
Addressing a gathering of French military officers at a reception, Macron announced a new military doctrine to protect French satellites in orbit.
He added, according to Reuters, “To give substance to this doctrine and ensure the development and reinforcement of our space capabilities, a space command will be created next September in the air force." Macron explained that the air and space forces will "then become the Air and Space Force."
AFP reports Macron said the focus on space would be a "true national security issue" that would work towards "better protecting our satellites".
Macron did not mention what investment would be necessary to create a French space force, though AFP notes France's 2019-2025 military spending plan has $4 billion USD for space defense.
Macron's announcement appears to mirror the United States' planned creation of a Space Force by 2020. China and Russia have also explored military expansion into space. Trump had originally announced plans to create the Space Force at a speech to members of the military in March 2018. In February 2019, Trump signed a directive to officially create the Space Force as a new branch of the U.S. military.
"I was put here for security, whether it's Space Force, which I'm doing today, or whether it's borders," Trump said at the time.
The planned Space Force would become the sixth branch of the U.S. armed forces, though the initiative would start as part of the U.S. Air Force and under the control of a civilian undersecretary of the Air Force for space. General John W. Raymond was confirmed by the Senate on June 27 to fill the role.
The U.S. Space Force would be authorized "to provide for freedom of operation in, from and to the space domain; to provide independent military options for joint and national leadership; and to enable the lethality and effectiveness of the joint force,” according to the Department of Defense.
The Defense Department's proposal submitted to Congress asks for $72.4 million to support 200 personnel for the Space Force's first year of operation.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: French space force: Macron announces creation of space force command