President Trump has authorized the establishment of the U.S. Space Force as the sixth service branch as stated in the fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, the Department of Defense said Friday.
Gen. Jay Raymond, chief of space operations and commander of the U.S. Space Command, said Space Force’s creation will support the command as it seeks to exploit the space domain. Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett added that the new military branch will “singularly focus on protecting our U.S. national interests and security in space.”
“In military operations, space is not just a place from which we support combat operations in other domains, but a warfighting domain in and of itself,” said Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “Our adversaries are building and deploying capabilities to threaten us, so we can no longer take space for granted.”
According to Defense Secretary and 2019 Wash100 winner Mark Esper, Space Force will address emerging threats in a space environment and ensure the nation’s capacity to “deter aggression, defend our national interests and outpace potential adversaries.”
In a memo dated Dec. 20, Esper noted that Space Force will “organize, train, and equip military and civilian personnel to maintain freedom of operation in, from, and to space.” The Department of Defense will also transfer all space missions, capabilities and relevant personnel from across the service branches to Space Force.