UK Conservatives promise new Space Command if returned to power
Should the British Conservative Party be re-elected at the upcoming general election, it will create a UK Space Command.
The Conservatives have set out that and other promises in their election manifesto.
“We will adapt to new threats, investing more in cyber security and setting up the UK’s first Space Command,” it said.
The election is to be held on 12 December and pits the Conservatives led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson against Labour led by Jeremy Corbyn.
The Conservatives have been in power in the UK since 2010.
The central election issues remains Brexit – the UK exit from the European Union.
The Conservatives' election manifesto included a promise to exceed 2 per cent of GDP on Defence spending but also substantial spending on social programs, including 50,000 more nurses for the NHS, to counter Labour’s big spending program.
If the Conservatives are re-elected and fulfil the Space Command promise, Britain would become the second European country to create a dedicated command structure for military space activities.
Earlier this year, France’s Defence Minister Florence Parly announced plans to create a Space Command within the French Air Force. This new body would have a limited mission to counter hostile forces in space.
Britain’s closest ally the US is also in the process of standing up its new Space Command.
Both Russia and China already have Space Commands in place within their armed forces. Both possess anti-satellite capabilities, as do other nations such as India.
Australia doesn’t yet have a Space Command within the Australian Defence Force but is acknowledging that space will be a crucial domain for any future conflict.
Like every other armed force, the ADF relies on space-based systems for command and control, communications, Earth observation and intelligence and navigation.
There’s a growing expectation that in any significant future conflict adversary space systems would be targeted at the outset, either by non-kinetic means such as jamming or by missile systems.
With Brexit looming, the UK and Australia are working on stronger defence ties and also a closer relationship in space matters.
The UK is developing a new synthetic aperture radar satellite surveillance system and has recently opened competition for the Skynet-6 military satellite communications program.
So far the Conservatives are on their own in proposing a UK Space Command as neither of the other major parties, Labour nor the Social Democrats, have mentioned military space matters in their manifestos.
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