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."
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.
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 (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for Space.com for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace