A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying the AEHF-4 mission for USAF lifts off from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., on October 17. ULA photo.
The White House this week will reportedly order the creation of US Space Command as the military’s 11th combatant command, another step in the progress toward a new military force for space.
President Trump in the near future will sign an executive order creating the command, Vice President Mike Pence will announce Tuesday during a visit to Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., The Associated Press reported. The creation of a new combatant command has been expected by the end of the year, according to memos from the Pentagon and statements from officials such as Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan.
The Pentagon, in a statement, would not specifically confirm the forthcoming order, and the Air Force would not comment on the reports.
“In concert with President Trump’s vision to ensure American national security is as dominant in space as it is on Earth and in cyberspace, the Department is developing plans for the establishment of a US Space Command and a US Space Force,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Joseph Buccino said.
The creation of the command was outlined in an August Defense Department report to Congress, which stated that a four-star general or flag officer would lead the command. Initially, the commander of Air Force Space Command, currently Gen. Jay Raymond, would be dual hatted to lead SPACECOM, though future commanders would be single-hatted.
The command would be responsible for directing the employment of the Space Force, and “lead the use of space assets in warfighting and accelerate integration of space capabilities into other warfighting forces,” the memo states.
The command’s priorities will be to integrate space planning and operations across the military, align operational forces to the commander responsible for joint space warfighting, develop tactics, establish space standards for all military forces, and utilize best commercial practices. While the memo and deliberations have focused on SPACECOM’s priorities, the Pentagon has not determined a headquarters location yet for the command.
Pence said in August the White House expects to stand up the separate service by 2020, a significant move that requires Congressional approval.