Canada Should Consider its Own Space Force: Military Expert

Canada Should Consider its Own Space Force: Military Expert

U.S. President Donald Trump’s push to create a U.S. space force is being welcomed by military experts in Canada, and the executive director of one defence think tank says Canada should consider following suit.

“At some point we might like to think about a space force,” Matthew Overton, executive director of the Conference of Defence Associations Institute, said in an interview. “Thinking about space as a separate entity in itself that deserves attention and expertise, I think is a good idea.”

But it is not something that needs to be done immediately, he added, suggesting Canada should first develop a centre of excellence on space knowledge.

Last month, Trump took a first step toward a space force when he signed an order to create a U.S. Space Command, which pulls together space-related units from across military services into a co-ordinated, independent organization.

The move comes amid growing concerns that China and Russia are working on ways to disrupt, disable or even destroy U.S. satellites.

The U.S. air force has operated a space command since 1982, and its mission is “to provide resilient, defendable and affordable space capabilities for the air force.” It also operates the mysterious X-37B space plane, known simply as its orbital test vehicle. The unmanned plane has already completed four clandestine missions, carrying classified payloads on long-duration flights.

Overton, who served in the Canadian Forces for 39 years, noted that Canada’s Air Force already has a space component. It is led by Brigadier General Kevin Whale, Director General Space. Its mission, a spokesman said by email, is “to maintain space domain awareness, and to develop, deliver and assure space-based capabilities.”

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