Trump establishes new military space command

President Trump on Tuesday signed off on the military’s first space combatant command, putting it on par with others such as U.S. Cyber Command, and taking a key step toward his proposed Space Force.

The creation of U.S. Space Command had been planned for months by the Pentagon and is part of a major overhaul of space operations as the U.S. faces rising threats to its military and civilian satellites from Russia and China.

Vice President Mike Pence visited Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Tuesday and was expected to discuss the military’s space reorganization.

The Trump administration is still pursuing the Space Force and plans to request legislation from Congress next year to either create a new, entirely separate service branch, or a new service that would exist inside the Department of the Air Force.

The military now has nearly a dozen combatant commands staffed by the services that cover geographic areas of the world and areas of war-fighting, such as special operations forces, cybercombat, and global strike capabilities.

Trump in a memo ordered U.S. Strategic Command, which now handles nuclear deterrence, long-range bombers, and missile defense, to turn over all its space-related operations to the new space command.

“I will 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,” Trump wrote in the memo.

[ Related: Pentagon says Space Force could cost less than $5 billion]

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