france and space surveillance

From: Theresa Hitchens (
Date: Tue Aug 10 2004 - 10:21:55 EDT

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    Dear All,
    This might be of interest to you in light of latest email train.
    US and French armed-forces officials agreed that a capacity to survey what
    is going on in Earth orbit is a high priority for their nations. "It's just
    as important as building space-based military assets". The June 29 debate at
    France's Ecole Militaire to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the French air
    force highlighted the different logics that guide France, which is Europe's
    biggest space power, and the United States, whose military space program is
    at least 10 times as big as Europe's. French air force Commander Christophe
    Morand said that France would continue to work through the United Nations to
    secure Antarctic-type protected status for space that would forbid weapons
    from being stationed. On a parallel track, France is urging its European
    partners to invest in a space-surveillance system to assure that no one is
    violating the expected UN treaty. The current French ground-based GRAVES
    radar is only the first element of a larger hoped-to-be European system.
    General Darnell, commander of the Space Warfare Center at Schriever Air
    Force Base in Colorado said that the US couldn't assume anymore that
    whenever there is a problem in orbit, it is a malfunction. "Space situation
    awareness is our first priority". France is concerned about falling too far
    behind the US in the development of military-space capabilities. "It is not
    healthy to have such a large gap in capabilities among allies. And of
    course, the French have always been concerned about preserving their
    strategic autonomy". [Space News 05/07/2004]
    Theresa Hitchens
    Vice President
    Center for Defense Information
    1779 Massachusetts Ave., NW
    Washington, DC 20036
    Tel: 202-797-5269; Fax: 202-462-4559
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