Russia has created a new military branch, the Aerospace Forces, by merging the Russian Air Force with the Russian Aerospace Defense Forces, TASS reports. The $60 billion reorganization appears to be a direct response to the perceived increased risk of NATO air and missile attacks on Russian soil — in particular, the United States military’s Global Strike program has the Kremlin worried.
The new service branch, officially called the Aerospace Forces of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, became operational on August 1, according to Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu.
“On August 1, the Russian president signed decree No. 394 on appointing the Colonel-General [Viktor Bondarev] as the commander-in-chief of the Aerospace Forces, Lieutenant-General [Pavel] Kurachenko as chief of the Main Staff and first deputy commander-in-chief of the Aerospace Forces, Lieutenant-General [Alexander] Golovko as deputy commander-in-chief of the Aerospace Forces and commander of the Space Forces,” Shoigu said.