U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper officially established the U.S. Space Command, eight months after President Donald Trump ordered the creation of the eleventh combatant command to control American military space operations.
“To ensure the protection of America’s interests in space we must apply the necessary focus, energy, and resources to the task – and that is exactly what Space Command will do,” Esper said in a Thursday, August 29 statement released by the Defense Department.
In December, Trump ordered the creation of a Space Command to oversee military space operations.
The command will be separate from Trump’s goal to build an entirely new branch of the military called “Space Force,” which has not received approval from Congress. USSPACECOM will be equal with Central Command in the Middle East, Africa Command, or the recently renamed Indo-Pacific Command in Asia.
The command’s mission “is to deter aggression and conflict, defend U.S. and allied freedom of action, deliver space combat power for the Joint/Combined force, and develop joint warfighters to advance U.S. and allied interests in, from, and through the space domain,” according to the Pentagon.
Integrated with other combatant commands, its two primary missions are focused on unifying and leading space capabilities for the Combined Force, and maintaining the advantages of the U.S. and its allies in space “through protection and defense.”
Veteran U.S. Air Force space commander General John F. Raymond is to head the command.
“Gen. Raymond is acutely aware of the vital role that space plays in U.S. national security and our way of life and is an ideal choice to lead this new command,” Esper said.
“Establishing the United States Space Command as a unified combatant command is the next critical step towards the creation of an independent Space Force as the sixth branch of the armed forces.”
Raymond will remain dual-hatted as the commander of both U.S. Space Command and the Air Force Space Command.