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U.S. Space Command Established by President Trump

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U.S. Army
Thursday, December 20, 2018

President Donald Trump has ordered establishment of the U.S. Space Command, a new combatant command responsible for space-related activities previously assigned to the U.S. Strategic Command.

This is expected to include some parts of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command and the U.S. Army Forces Strategic Command, but details have not been announced. A Dec. 18 presidential memorandum to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says a comprehensive list of authorities and responsibilities “will be included in the next update to the Unified Command Plan.”

Speaking at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Vice President Mike Pence said the Trump administration still intends to create the U.S. Space Force as a military service but establishing the U.S. Space Command as the military’s 11th combatant command is a first step.

“The U.S. Space Command will integrate space capabilities across all branches of the military,” Pence said. “It will develop the space doctrine, tactics, techniques and procedures that will enable our warfighters to defend our nation in this new era.”

The new command would be headed by a four-star officer. Trump has asked Mattis to recommend a commander and deputy commander for the command.

In his speech, Pence said the administration considers space a warfighting domain. “The truth is, for years, foreign nations have been developing electronic weapons to jam, blind and disable satellites just like the one that waits on that launchpad today,” Pence said. 

“China has tested missiles designed to destroy satellites. China and Russia are working to station new weapons directly in space and, frankly, these new challenges demand new and innovative responses. That’s precisely what we’ve been providing under President Trump’s leadership. Under his leadership, the United States is taking steps to ensure that American national security is as dominant in space as it is here on Earth.”

Pence said the administration’s timeline has the U.S. Space Force being established as the sixth branch of the armed forces “before the end of 2020.”