German military readies itself for war in space

Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and Inspector General Eberhard Zorn, Germany’s most senior military officer, launched the Bundeswehr’s new Space Command this week.

Kramp-Karrenbauer and Zorn (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

The new unit is based at the headquarters of the Centre for Air Operations in Uedem and is subordinate to the Luftwaffe (Air Force). The command currently has 80 posts but is to be expanded rapidly to 250. The first head of the command is Colonel (General Staff) Marco Manderfeld.

The establishment of the command underlines how swiftly and comprehensively the ruling class is pushing for the return of German militarism. At the official ceremony, Kramp-Karrenbauer celebrated the creation of the unit as a “military-historical step for the future of the Bundeswehr.” The aim, she said, was to bundle the capacities of the air, space and cyber dimensions and thereby “strengthen the ability to act in the space dimension.”

The defence minister openly stated what was at stake: the pursuit of the interests of German imperialism through a strong military presence in space. Germany is an export-oriented, highly industrialised nation, she said, and “therefore our prosperity and security are highly dependent on space.”

“For a long time now, our civilian and military satellites have been a resource without which nothing works,” Kramp-Karrenbauer continued. The Bundeswehr itself has six satellites of its own in low-Earth orbits, she said. “As always when a resource becomes vital,” “its security becomes an issue.” It was a matter of “being operationally capable in space.”

NATO had already adopted a space strategy in mid-2019, identifying space as an operational domain alongside land, air, sea and cyberspace. Although Germany has been arming itself for cyber warfare since 2017, it has so far been primarily dependent on the capabilities of the USA in “space” operations. This is now to change.

In a direct challenge to the other major powers, Kramp-Karrenbauer stressed, “Space is no longer the exclusive domain of the space-faring nations.” All of them were “now present there,” and emerging and developing countries also had “developed space programmes today.” Germany must not be left behind. For this reason, “the various capabilities available in the Bundeswehr for the security of our infrastructure in space are now being brought together in the Space Command.”

For Germany, “space operations are always defensive operations,” the defence minister asserted. The Bundeswehr wanted to “ensure the peaceful use of space.” This is pure propaganda. Such space plans are part of the comprehensive rearmament and war offensive of German imperialism, which—at least for the moment—is mainly directed against Russia and China.

“The rapid development of the militarisation of space, driven by Russia and China, among others, has already drastically changed the situation,” the official website of the Ministry of Defence states. The Bundeswehr was reacting “with the new command, to new threat situations such as these.”

The NATO powers, in particular, are pushing ahead with the militarisation of space—with unforeseeable consequences. At its last summit in June, the alliance decided that in the future, an attack in space could also trigger the alliance’s mutual support provisions. This means that “the same applies to space as to land, sea, air and cyberspace,” explained NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. “An attack on one is an attack on all—and can be answered by all.”

To be clear about the implications of this: Were the US or one of the extremely anti-Russian governments in Eastern Europe to claim Russia and/or China had attacked one of their satellites in space and invoke the mutual support provisions, Berlin would be obliged under Article 5 of the NATO treaty to go to war against a nuclear power.

While insane, this is perfectly in line with the plans that the ruling class is preparing behind the backs of the population.

With the establishment of the Space Command, the Defence Ministry is implementing the “Cornerstones for the Future of the Bundeswehr” adopted by Kramp-Karrenbauer and Zorn on May 18. This blueprint for the massive military build-up of the German army states that “the dimension of air and space will be strengthened by establishing a Bundeswehr Space Command under the auspices of the Luftwaffe.”

The command is indispensable for modern warfare. In the future, conflicts “will be conducted and decided across all dimensions—land, air/space, sea as well as cyber and information space.” The Luftwaffe was therefore also “setting up an ‘Air Warfare Centre’ to combine responsibility and competencies in the areas of doctrine and further development.” In addition, it is working on “sustainably increasing material readiness.”

Whole passages of the document read like a modern version of Hitler’s doctrine of total war, albeit this time to be waged with nuclear weapons.

The Bundeswehr must be able to “conduct military operations against an equal opponent in a battle of combined arms, and in future also in a battle of combined dimensions—in the entire spectrum up to high-intensity combat,” it says in the chapter “Requirements for the Bundeswehr.” This requires “military capabilities for deterrence in the entire spectrum, including nuclear participation.”

In addition, the German armed forces must be “capable of making flexible military options available to the political leadership and of providing forces and capabilities competent of taking action in all dimensions in accordance with the situation.” They would have to be able to “act quickly and without disruption across dimensions and exist simultaneously across the entire spectrum of dimensions.” The “guiding principle” must be “organise as you fight.”

These “Cornerstones” are a warning. Previous papers, such as the “Concept of the Bundeswehr,” adopted in 2018, have already shown that German imperialism will stop at nothing to militarily assert its interests in the 21st century. This now officially includes Berlin’s drive to become a military power in space.