President Donald Trump officially launched the Pentagon’s new Space Command as part of national efforts to better organize and advance the military’s space programs.

Trump signed a one-page memorandum Tuesday authorizing the Defense Department to create the new command. Speaking at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Vice President Mike Pence said, “a new era of American national security in space begins today.”
The goal is to set up a command to oversee and organize space operations, accelerate technical advances and find more effective ways to defend U.S. assets in space, including the vast constellations of satellites that American forces rely on for navigation, communications and surveillance. The move comes amid growing concerns that China and Russia are working on ways to disrupt, disable or even destroy U.S. satellites.

Creating the Space Command is the first step in forming the proposed 6th branch of the military, the US Space Force.

According to one U.S. official, the command would pull about 600 staff from existing military space offices, and then add at least another 1,000 over the coming years. The roughly $800 million would mainly cover the additional staff. The costs for the existing staff would just transfer to the new command, but that total was not immediately available.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations not yet announced.

Army Lt. Col. Joe Buccino, spokesman for Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, said that establishing Space Command is “a critical step in accelerating our space capabilities and posture to defend our vital national interests and deter our adversaries. This combatant command will lead space operations and develop space warfighting doctrine, tactics, and techniques.”

He added that the Pentagon will continue to develop a legislative proposal to meet the president’s vision for a space force.

The US Space Forces faces its greatest challenge even before creation… the Black Hole of a Democratic majority House of Representatives.

Rep. Adam Smith, D-Washington, who is poised to take over the chairmanship of the House Armed Services Committee from Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, and other Democrats have already made their case for keeping military space programs within the existing structure of the Air Force.

They have also balked at the projected $1 billion price tag for building a new headquarters for the Space Force.

The divided Congress could also put the brakes on Trump-backed initiatives at the VA, with Rep. Mark Takano, D-California, likely to take over from Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tennessee, as chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

 

 
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