The US Space Force’s first foreign base will be in South Korea.
Until Wednesday, the Space Force had only domestic facilities, but military leaders said a base in South Korea will allow them to better monitor North Korea.
“The activation here today of U.S. Space Forces Korea … enhances our ability to defend homelands and ensure peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia,” said Gen. Paul LaCamera, who commands 28,500 US troops in South Korea.
The Space Force was launched in 2019 under then-President Donald Trump. It became the first new US military branch in more than 70 years.
The South Korean facility will be based at Osan Air Base, which already houses thousands of US troops about 40 kilometers south of Seoul.
“Just 48 miles north of us is an existential threat; a threat we must be prepared to deter, defend and, if necessary, defeat,” said Lt. Col. Joshua McCullion, who will command the new Space Force base.
In recent months, North Korea has tested several ballistic missiles capable of reaching the US or, more easily, South Korea and Japan.
The US has had a military presence in South Korea since June 27, 1950, when it entered the Korean War.