Published: Wed, December 19, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Trump signs memo establishing US Space Command, separate from desired Space Force

Trump signs memo establishing US Space Command, separate from desired Space Force

Donald Trump has issued an order for the Department of Defense to create a Space Command to oversee and advance the United States military's operations in space.

Officials told CNN that the Pentagon is nearing completion of a draft proposal for a Space Force that would sit under the Air Force, but have numerous trappings of a separate service, resembling the Marine Corps' relationship to the Department of the Navy.

Pence will visit Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral on Tuesday, and is expected to visit the Pentagon this week, in part to discuss Trump's sought-after Space Force.

Two defense officials told CNN that the Pentagon is nearing completion of a draft proposal for a Space Force that would sit under the Air Force, but have numerous trappings of a separate service, resembling the Marine Corps' relationship to the Department of the Navy.

"I direct the establishment, consistent with United States law, of United States Space Command as a functional Unified Combatant Command", Trump said in a memo to Defense Secretary Defense Jim Mattis. "It will develop the space doctrine tactics, techniques and procedures that will enable our war fighters to defend our nation in this new era".

The new order is separate from the president's much touted goal of creating a "Space Force" as an independent armed service branch, but is considered a first step in that direction.

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SpaceCom, as it will inevitably come to be known, will be the Pentagon's 11th combatant command, along with other well-known commands including Central Command and Europe Command.

Pence said the commander will be a four-star general.

"The [Defense] Department will move expeditiously to establish U.S. Space Command once a commander is appointed", said Army Lt. Col. Joe Buccino, a Pentagon spokesman. "I also direct the Secretary of Defense to recommend officers for my nomination and Senate confirmation as Commander and Deputy Commander of the new United States Space Command".

But before Mr Trump's Space Force becomes a reality, it will first need the approval of Congress. "This combatant command will lead space operations and develop space warfighting doctrine, tactics, and techniques".

"We're working as we speak with leaders of both parties in Congress to stand up the United States Space Force by the end of 2020", Pence told airmen with the 45th Space Wing, based at Patrick Air Force Base and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. After the 9/11 attacks, it was moved under U.S. Strategic Command, responsible for all of the U.S. military's nuclear weapons.

The Space Command is an effort to better organize and advance the military's vast operations in space. The US military has far reaching plans in space as around $800 million is to be invested in the field over the next five years.

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