President Donald J. Trump watched as the flag of U.S. Space Command unfurled at the White House Rose Garden, signifying the stand-up of the Defense Department's newest combatant command.
The command is a response to adversaries challenging America's dominance in space, Trump said during remarks at yesterday's ceremony.
''Those who wish to harm the United States, who seek to challenge us in the ultimate high ground of space, it is going to be a whole different ballgame,'' the president said. ''Our adversaries are weaponizing Earth's orbit with new technology targeting American satellites that are critical to both battlefield operations and our way of life at home.''
Since 1957, the United States has gone from launching simple satellites to a manned space station. This summer, the world remembered the Apollo program that placed men on the moon.
Now, space is a warfighting domain crucial to communications, weather reporting, mapping and far more. ''Our freedom to operate in space is also essential to detecting and destroying any missile launched against the United States,'' Trump said. ''So just as we have recognized land, air, sea and cyber is vital warfighting domains, we will now treat space as an independent region overseen by a new unified, geographic combatant command.''
Air Force Gen. John W. ''Jay'' Raymond is the commander of U.S. Space Command, and he will operate for the time being from Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Vice President Mike Pence, Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper, Acting Director of National Intelligence Joe McGuire, Acting Army Secretary Ryan D. McCarthy, Acting Air Force Secretary Matthew Donovan, and Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, attended the White House event.
Trump called establishing the new command a landmark event that ''recognizes the centrality of space to national security and defense.''
''Under General Raymond's leadership,'' the president added, ''Spacecom will boldly deter aggression and outpace America's rivals by far.''
The command is the first step toward establishing the U.S. Space Force, which would be the first new branch of the U.S. armed forces since the Air Force was established in 1947. If approved, the Space Force will organize, train and equip warriors to support U.S. Space Command's mission.