Trump signs Order to Create US Space Command
President Trump on Tuesday directed the Department of Defense to establish a US Space Command as a unified combatant authority. He informed the Pentagon to launch a USSPACECOM as a “functional Unified Combatant Command (UCC).”
The Defense Department currently has 10 combatant commands; the new addition would become the 11th. and have control of military space operations.
At Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Vice President Mike Pence announced the decision of President Trump alongside Air Force Secretary, Heather Wilson.
Pence speaking at Cape Canaveral Tuesday, said, “In the days ahead, President Trump will also sign a new space policy directive that will lay out our plans and our timeline to create the new sixth branch of the armed forces, the US Space Force.”
Pence further added, “We’re working as we speak with leaders in both parties in Congress to stand up the United States Space Force before the end of 2020.”
After the news of Trump’s memo broke on Tuesday morning, speculation swirled on social media that US Space Command would replace US Air Force Space Command. Wilson said both the organizations execute different missions.
While US Space Command will become the military’s united command for space, Air Force Space Command will be reorganized under the President’s plan to stand up a new military branch for space.
Air Force Lt. Gen. John Thompson, commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center said, “The whole point behind a combatant command is to do our war fighting missions whereas the point behind Air Force Space Command is to provide the resources necessary to organize, train and equip, and provide forces to that combatant command.”
Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan who is managing the Pentagon’s efforts to establish a Space Force as a new military branch, explained on Twitter, “The Space Force will serve as a force provider for personnel, assets, and capabilities supporting space operations while Space Command will serve as the operational command that will employ space capabilities and lead space operations.”
The administration also plans to include money for the Space Force in the president’s 2020 budget. A leaked memo from US Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson revealed that it would cost $3.3 billion for financial year 2020 to set up the Space Force.
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