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Germany stands up space command

German Space command emblem
Photo: German defense ministry

The German defense ministry has established a new Space Command that will help the country strengthen its ability to act in the space dimension.

The command was stood up on July 13 in a ceremony attended by defense minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and the Inspector General of the German armed forces General Eberhard Zorn at the German Space Situational Awareness Centre in Uedem, in the Lower Rhine region.

Kramp-Karrenbauer said the creation of the command was a “military-historical step for the future of the Bundeswehr,” adding that Germany’s approach to space operations has always been defensive.

At the commissioning of the command, the minister advocated that space must not become “the Wild West.” Legal regulations are also needed in this dimension, but there is still a lot to be done here, Kramp-Karrenbauer said.

The establishment of the command is one of the Key Elements of the Bundeswehr of the Future, a new vision for the country’s armed forces released by the defense ministry in May this year.

According to the vision, the Bundeswehr is to have more troops and fewer staff, more material ready for deployment and faster procedures. The control of deployable forces is to be strengthened by “dimension commands.”

These will exist for land, sea, cyber and information space, and air and space dimensions. Four inspectors, Army, Air Force, Navy, Cyber and Information Space, will lead the responsible dimension commands and train and provide ready forces.

The new Bundeswehr Space Command is thus the first urgent structural measure from the vision. Its establishment represents the logical further development of the Center for Space Operations.

With the new command, the Bundeswehr is also responding to new threat situations such as the rapid development of the militarization of space, driven by Russia and China, among others. The new command will also enable Germany to ensure the deployment and operation of its own space systems and to protect and defend them against threats. This includes the ability to act against threats in all dimensions.

By establishing a dedicated space unit, Germany is joining the United States, which set up the Space Force in 2019. Japan and the United Kingdom also established space units, while more recently, the Australian defense ministry revealed its plans to establish a dedicated space force unit within the Royal Australian Air Force in early 2022.