Space Force closer to reality with new space command
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump will move closer to launching his long-promised Space Force on Thursday as his administration embarks on the creation of a new space combatant command.
Pointing to threats from China and Russia and the nation’s reliance on satellites for defense operations, Trump has pressed for a new branch of the military focused on space. While Space Force requires congressional approval, his administration has moved ahead with a Space Command that will draw forces from other armed services.
Trump will speak on the issue Thursday at the White House, his first public remarks since returning to Washington from the G-7 meeting in France on Monday.
Led by Air Force Gen. John Raymond, the announcement marks the first time the military has stood up such an endeavor since it created U.S. Cyber Command in 2009.
Trump, initially ridiculed for his emphasis on “Space Force” at campaign rallies, has found some support for the idea among military and congressional leaders. China and Russia have explored military expansion into space and France announced its own space force last month.
Space Force: US Space Command will launch this month, ahead of Trump’s Space Force
“To ensure the protection of America’s interests in space, we must apply the necessary focus, energy and resources to the task, and that is exactly what Space Command will do,” Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told reporters this week.
The Air Force, the newest of the armed services dating to 1947, currently has the largest stake in space of the military branches. It already contains a Space Command, which it established in 1982. Military officials have previously said the new combatant command will lead combat missions and the Air Force command will train and equip forces.
Trump wants to create the new branch by 2020.
Contributing: Tom Vanden Brook, Ledyard King