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Trump Launches US Space Command to Control the 'Next Warfighting Domain'

The United States Space Command is officially here.

President Donald Trump made the expected announcement yesterday during a Rose Garden speech, adding that before long, the U.S. will establish a sixth branch of the military, U.S. Space Force, for space defense. 

"It's a big deal," Trump said in a speech at the White House Thursday (Aug. 29) to unveil the new Space Command (also called SPACECOM). "As the newest combatant command, SPACECOM will defend America's vital interests in space — the next warfighting domain. And I think that's pretty obvious to everybody. It's all about space."

Related: US Military Eyes Strategic Value of Earth-Moon Space

President Donald Trump and U.S. General John W. Raymond mark the formal establishment of the U.S. Space Command on Aug. 29, 2019. (Image credit: Chen Mengtong/China News Service/Getty)

Trump expressed concern that United States adversaries are "weaponizing Earth's orbits with new technology targeting American satellites." He added that the country needs to use its "freedom to operate in space" to seek and destroy missiles heading towards the United States.

Pending Senate confirmation, U.S. Space Command will be led by John "Jay" Raymond, an experienced hand in space operations. He is the Joint Force Space Component commander and used to be Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations at the U.S. Air Force headquarters.

Watch: U.S. DoD Explains Space Command and Space Force

The announcement was anticipated in the space community, since Vice President Mike Pence told the National Space Council on Aug. 20 that U.S. Space Command would be ready by the end of the month. This is the Defense Department's 11th unified combatant command; each command serves specific geographic regions or functions.

Trump's idea for a "Space Force" is something he has been talking about for more than a year. 

In February, he signed Space Policy Directive-4, directing the Pentagon to create a Space Force. The other military branches Space Force would join are the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. 

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell, Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022. She was contributing writer for (opens in new tab) for 10 years before that, since 2012. As a proud Trekkie and Canadian, she also tackles topics like diversity, science fiction, astronomy and gaming to help others explore the universe. Elizabeth's on-site reporting includes two human spaceflight launches from Kazakhstan, three space shuttle missions in Florida, and embedded reporting from a simulated Mars mission in Utah. She holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, and a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science since 2015. Her latest book, Leadership Moments from NASA, is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday.