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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

Elizabeth Howell is a contributing writer for who is one of the few Canadian journalists to report regularly on space exploration. She is the author or co-author of several books on space exploration. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Dakota in Space Studies, and an M.Sc. from the same department. She also holds a bachelor of journalism degree from Carleton University in Canada, where she began her space-writing career in 2004. Besides writing, Elizabeth teaches communications at the university and community college level, and for government training schools. To see her latest projects, follow Elizabeth on Twitter at @howellspace.