US Space Command is officially open for business

news

VIDEO: Space Force: To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before —And Destroy Everything

Editor's Note: This article by Matthew Cox originally appeared onMilitary.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

The Pentagon on Thursday officially established United States Space Command, a precursor to the Space Force military service President Donald Trump has called for.

As the nation's 11th geographic combatant command, Space Command was created to defend U.S. space-enabled capabilities in this new warfighting domain, said Air Force Gen. John "Jay" Raymond, who assumed command of U.S. Space Command on Thursday.


"Although space is a warfighting domain, our goal is actually to deter a conflict from extending into space; the best way I know how to do that is to be prepared to fight and win if deterrence were to fail," Raymond told reporters at the Pentagon. "The scope, scale and complexity of the threat to our space capabilities is real, and it's concerning. We no longer have the luxury of operating in a peaceful and benign domain."

Space Command is part of a two-pronged effort — which includes a proposal before Congress to create a U.S. Space Force as the sixth branch of the U.S. military — to build a fighting force capable of conducting defensive and offensive operations against potential adversaries seeking to deny America's access to space, Raymond said.

"Primarily, the countries that have the more significant threats are China and Russia," he told reporters at the Pentagon. "Our adversaries have had a front row seat to our many successes of integrating space, and they don't like what they see because it provides us with such great advantage. And they are developing capabilities to negate our access to space."

Both China and Russia began updating their space capabilities in 2015 to counter those of the United States, said Steve Kitay, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Space Policy.

"There is a perception that space represents an Achilles heel, and that this is an ... asymmetric advantage for them to then take on the United States' power because we project power through space-enabled capabilities," Kitay said.

The U.S. faces a full spectrum of space-related threats, Raymond added.

"On the lower end of that spectrum, there is reversible jamming of communications satellites and GPS satellites, for example, all the way up to the very destructive kinetic strike of a ground-based missile to blow up a satellite, like China did in 2007," he said.

President Donald J. Trump receives a memento presented by the incoming commander of U.S. Space Command, Air Force Gen. John W. Raymond, to commemorate the establishment of the U.S. Space Command, the White House, Washington, D.C., Aug. 29, 2019 (DoD/Lisa Ferdinando)

TThe Pentagon had a U.S. Space Command from 1985 to 2002, but it was not a geographic combatant command, Raymond said. It was merged with U.S. Strategic Command following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, as antiterrorism efforts took precedence.

"United States Space Command of today shares the same name as the original command; however, it is designed for a different strategic environment," he said. "Today's U.S. Space Command has a sharper focus on protecting and defending our critical space assets.

Space Command will start out with a traditional headquarters made up of about 287 personnel who are currently assigned to the Joint Force Space Component Command and those who have been conducting the space mission of the U.S. Strategic Command, Raymond said.

The Air Force has identified six candidate bases that could serve as the command's new headquarters. Once the evaluation is complete, the secretary of the Air Force will make the decision, he added.

The new command will have service components from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines and will be organized into two operational elements.

The Combined Force Space Component Command, which Raymond commanded before taking over Space Command, will be elevated to a "combined command to help us integrate with allies more effectively, and that command is going to be focused on integrating space capabilities around the globe throughout all of our ... coalition partners," he said.

Historically, the U.S. hasn't needed to have allies in space, Raymond said.

"Now we are working very closely with ... France, Germany and Japan," he said. "We exercise together, we train together, we conduct war games together ... so this is a big growth area for us."

The second component is the Joint Task Force for Space Defense, a new organization that will focus on protecting and defending the space domain, Raymond said, adding that he will have a better idea of the new command's size once the manpower validation process is complete.

Pentagon officials recently reached an agreement with the National Reconnaissance Office that ensures that the DoD intelligence agency "in higher states of conflict ... will respond to the direction of the U.S. Space Command commander," Raymond said.

"We are the best in the world at space today," he said. "I'm convinced that we need to keep the domain safe for all to use. ... I am convinced that our way of life and our way of war depend on space capabilities."

This article originally appeared on Military.com

More articles from Military.com:


Barrett's bolt-action Multi-Role Adaptive Design (MRAD) system (Courtesy photo)

The Army is almost doubling its purchase of new bolt-action Precision Sniper Rifles as its primary anti-personnel sniper system of choice, according to budget documents.

Read More
(U.S. Air Force photo)

Air Force officials are investigating the death of a man near the north gate of the U.S. Air Force Academy on Saturday night after the NHL Stadium Series hockey game between the Avalanche and the Los Angeles Kings, military officials said Sunday.

Read More
(Navy photo / Chief Mass Communication Specialist Paul Seeber)

The Citizens of Ebey's Reserve (COER) is asking a federal judge to require the Navy to roll back the number of EA-18G Growler practice flights at Outlying Field Coupeville to pre-2019 levels until a lawsuit over the number of Growler flights is settled.

COER and private citizen Paula Spina filed a motion for a preliminary injunction Thursday.

According to the motion, since March 2019 the Navy has increased the number of Growlers at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island and shifted most of its Growler operations to Outlying Field Coupeville, which is near the Reserve and the town of Coupeville.

"The result is a nearly fourfold increase in Growler flights in that area. Now the overflights subject residents in and near Coupeville to extreme noise for several hours of the day, day and night, many days of the week," said the court document.

Read More
An F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 18th Aggressor Squadron taxis down the runway during Sentry Aloha 20-1 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Jan. 15, 2020. (U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Beaux Hebert)

A 26-year-old man died after he failed to surface from waters off Molokai while participating in a scuba diving tour over the weekend.

He has been identified as Duane Harold Parsley II and was stationed at Hickam Air Force Base, according to the Maui Police Department.

Read More
Manzanar, the first of ten such concentration camps established by Executive Order No. 9066 on February 19, 1942. (Dorothea Lange for the War Relocation Authority)

LOS ANGELES — For decades, Japanese American activists have marked Feb. 19 as a day to reflect on one of the darkest chapters in this nation's history.

On that date in 1942, during World War II, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt authorized the forced removal of over 120,000 Americans of Japanese descent from their homes and businesses.

On Thursday, the California Assembly will do more than just remember.

Read More