President Trump is expected to sign an order this week that will officially create the U.S. Space Command.
Three U.S. officials told CNN on Monday that the announcement may take place Tuesday during Vice President Pence’s visit to the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. on Tuesday where he will be delivering a speech.
Pence, who Trump appointed as the chairman of the National Space Council, is also scheduled to meet with Joint Chiefs at the Pentagon this week. There, he is expected to discuss issues including the Space Command, which would be integrated into the Central Command and serve as the 11th combined combatant command.
President Trump will order in the coming days the establishment of a new military space command, a move that comes as Vice President Mike Pence plans two high-profile visits related to the US space program, three US officials tell CNN https://t.co/aMACRdzABM pic.twitter.com/R9lksnMkdx
— CNN (@CNN) December 17, 2018
Last week, Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan told reporters that important decisions regarding the Space Command would be made “by the end of the year.”
The U.S. Space Command is a separate division from President Trump’s aspirations for a “Space Force,” but could pave the way for the latter’s independent branch.
The U.S. Space Command previously existed during 1982-2002, but was dissolved after its responsibilities were integrated into the U.S. Strategic Command and the Air Force.
This is not really new – it’s the re-launch of US Space Command (which existed from 1985-2002) and was directed by Congress in the FY19 NDAA: https://t.co/QckwEyhDe3
— brianweeden (@brianweeden) December 17, 2018
“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 Joe Buccino told The Hill.
In August, the Pentagon released a report outlining the first steps in pursuit of the Space Force, prompted by Trump’s direction in the months earlier. The report indicated what steps the Department of Defense was able to take without requiring Congressional approval.
Pence announced, “Our administration will soon take action to implement these recommendations, with the objective of establishing the United States Department of the Space Force by 2020,” The Hill reported at the time.
A draft proposal for the Space Force is reportedly underway and could soon be completed. The agency would be under the umbrella of the Air Force with many independent characteristics similar to that of the Marine Corps and the Navy.