Space is getting ‘more crowded and already contested’, warns Australia’s defense minister
Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton is expected to announce that his government will pursue the development of a US-style space force in the future as the country’s new Space Command begins operations.
On Tuesday, Dutton will notify the Air and Space Power Conference that “space is increasingly crowded and already contested”, with China and Russia having developed hypersonic missiles that can travel at over 6,000 kilometers per hour, Australian media reported.
During his speech, Dutton will declare that it is a “necessary effort, in order to protect our national interests and our need for a space force in the future.” The statement comes twelve months after the Royal Australian Air Force confirmed it was setting up a Space Command.
“Along with like-minded partners and the United Nations, Australia has a long history of championing the responsible and peaceful use of outer space in accordance with international standards,” the minister must tell the conference.
The remarks, distributed to reporters ahead of his speech, will see him highlight how future warfare will lead to the “increasing importance” hypersonic missiles and satellite space communications. The space will be “undoubtedly becoming an area of greater military importance in the 21st century”, according to the remarks.
The Australian Space Command is now operational, although a “modest” form of similarly established organizations in countries such as the United States. The US Space Force was formed in 2019 by then-President Donald Trump, becoming the first new US military branch in more than 70 years.
Australian Space Command is currently headed by Air Vice-Marshal Cath Roberts and includes personnel from multiple services, defence, civil servants, industry contractors and the Australian Space Agency.
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