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September 22, 2020

US Space Force deploys to vast new frontier: Arabian Desert

World

September 22, 2020

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates: The newly formed US Space Force is deploying troops to a vast new frontier: the Arabian Peninsula.

Space Force now has a squadron of 20 airmen stationed at Qatar’s Al-Udeid Air Base in its first foreign deployment. The force, pushed by President Donald Trump, represents the sixth branch of the US military and the first new military service since the creation of the Air Force in 1947. It has provoked skepticism in Congress, satire on Netflix, and, with its uncannily similar logo, “Star Trek” jokes about intergalactic battles. Future wars may be waged in outer space, but the Arabian Desert already saw what military experts dub the world’s first “space war” — the 1991 Desert Storm operation to drive Iraqi forces from Kuwait. Today, the US faces new threats in the region from Iran’s missile program and efforts to jam, hack and blind satellites. “We’re starting to see other nations that are extremely aggressive in preparing to extend conflict into space,” Col. Todd Benson, director of Space Force troops at Al-Udeid, told media. In a swearing-in ceremony earlier this month at Al-Udeid, 20 Air Force troops, flanked by American flags and massive satellites, entered Space Force.