The Hill reports that Donald Trump’s administration is launching the U.S. Space Command on August 29. The new combatant command will be commanded by Gen. John Raymond and will consist of 87 units. It will plan and execute space operations using missile warning, space control, space support, and satellite operations.
“This step will put us on a path to maintain a competitive advantage in, as Vice President Pence described this and as the president has described it, in this critical warfighting domain,” said Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, who made the announcement of the Space Command launch alongside Mike Pence. “The direction is clear, we understand it and we’re moving out.”
The Space Command marks the first new combatant command since U.S. Africa Command in 2009. It is part of the Trump administration’s effort to reorganize the United States military’s approach to space. In particular, some U.S. officials believe that the army needs to channel their energy into space to ensure competition with Russia and China.
Space.com notes that although Space Command will work together with the Space Force — the planned sixth branch of the U.S. military — the two are considered separate entities.
“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,” Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on Twitter.
According to Dunford, the creation of the Space Command is one step on the way to creating the Space Force. He believes that the latter will be crucial for growing as a people and continuing to develop a future for the country.
“I’m confident that the focus that a single service will bring to bear on space is going to have a profound difference,” he said.
Pence believes that the Space Force will be operational by 2020, although this hinges on Congressional funding.
Newsmax reports that there are still unanswered questions surrounding the Space Force, including who will lead the effort, the ability of the Space Development Agency (SDA) to create the necessary space systems at an appropriate pace, and how to deal with opposition from the Air Force.
Regardless, the initiation of the Space Command continues to push U.S. resources further into the solar system.
“Space is a war-fighting domain,” Pence said, stating that the Space Force will ensure that the United States can defend its people and values both in space and on Earth.