The United States Department of Defense officially announced the establishment of U.S. Space Command on August 29, 2019. Space Command is the country’s 11th unified combatant command. It is singularly focused on the space domain.
“As the newest combatant command Space Command will defend America’s vital interests in space ‒ the next warfighting domain,” said president Donal Trump during an official ceremony.
Gen. John W. Raymond was appointed as commander. From establishment, Gen. Raymond will remain dual-hatted as Commander, U.S. Space Command, and Commander, Air Force Space Command.
“To ensure the protection of America’s interests in space we must apply the necessary focus, energy, and resources to the task – and that is exactly what Space Command will do,” Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper is quoted as saying in a statement by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).
“Establishing the United States Space Command as a unified combatant command is the next critical step towards the creation of an independent Space Force as the sixth branch of the armed forces,” according to Esper.
Space Force is eventually to become the sixth branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. Upon establishment, it would be the first new military branch in the United States since USAF, which was created in 1947. Differently from the USAF, the new branch would be dedicated to countering threats in space, namely those posed by Russia and China, which have already developed capable counterspace programs, according to Defense Intelligence Agency’s recent report on challenges to security in space.
The United States is not the only country preparing for warfare in space. In July 2019, France announced intentions to establish its own space command within the French Air Force. “The new military space doctrine, which was proposed to me by the minister and which I approved, will ensure our defense of space and from space. We will strengthen our knowledge of the space situation, we will better and actively protect our satellites,” President of France Emmanuel Macron said at the time. “And to give substance to this doctrine, to ensure the development and strengthening of our space capabilities, a large space command will be created next September in the Air Force. This will eventually become the Air and Space Force”.