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Russia plans to merge its air defense and military space force with the Russian air force creating a new service branch this year, the Russian military's chief of general staff announced. "Aerospace Forces, a new arm of armed forces, will be created through the merger of two current arms of military forces: Air Force and Aerospace Defense Forces," said Russia's military chief Gen. Valery Gerasimov quoted by state-run ITAR-TASS. By unifying these service branches, the Russian military aims to tightly integrate its ground-based air and missile defense systems, satellite warning nets, and air force assets, according to the press report. Integrating the space-based mission set into the new Aerospace Force closely parallels the Air Force's ownership of Air Force Space Command, though analogous air and missile defense forces are spread over USAF, the US Army, and US Missile Defense Agency. Russia's land-based nuclear deterrent force remains an independent service branch.