Trump directs Pentagon to establish ‘Space Command’

Washington,   US President Donald Trump issued an order on Tuesday directing the establishment of a “Space Command.”

Trump said the new command will be created as a “unified combatant command”, according to his memo to Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, which was made public by the White House, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Space Command will oversee all US military activities in space, and the president has asked Mattis to recommend officers for the command’s leadership, the one-page memo said.

It added that a comprehensive list of authorities and responsibilities for the Space Command will be included in the next update to the Unified Command Plan.

Analysts say the new command, to be led by a four-star general, is separate from the administration’s plan to build an independent “Space Force”, but could be a step in that direction.

Trump has been pushing to establish a Space Force by 2020, an idea that has been questioned by Pentagon officials and military experts worried about adding cost and bureaucracy.

US Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday said the Space Command will integrate space capabilities across all branches of the US military, adding that Trump will sign a new “space policy directive” in the coming days.

Pence was speaking at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, where he was to watch the launch of a SpaceX rocket with a military cargo.

The launch, however, had to be postponed until Wednesday because of a technical problem.

The Space Command will be the Pentagon’s 11th combatant command, along with others including Central Command and Europe Command.

The US military had a Space Command between 1985 and 2002 but it was disbanded in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks so that the US Northern Command could be established, which focuses on homeland defence.