President Trump is expected to soon order the establishment of a military space command, a step toward his goal of creating a United States Space Force, according to multiple reports.
The move coincides with Vice President Mike Pence’s visits this week to Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral to watch a SpaceX lunch and to the Pentagon.
Mr. Pence also heads the White House Space Council that the president reconvened to boost plans for reviving manned space missions at NASA.
Mr. Trump could sign the order for a Space Command as soon as Tuesday.
The planned space command, which was first reported by CNN, does not need approval from Congress, as would be required to create a new military branch.
Critics say a Space Command is an unnecessary and expensive bureaucratic endeavor that would simply shift work already being done well by other services like the Air Force.
The military only organized 10 previous combined combatant commands. The new Space Command would operate alongside Central Command and Special Operations Command, which oversee operations in the Middle East and elite special forces, respectively.
Mr. Trump’s order would actually recreate a Space Command that existed from 1985 to 2002 and was disbanded after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
The first Space Command was disbanded to make room for the Northern Command to focus on homeland defense. The functions of the defunct Space Command were taken over by Strategic Command, with the Air Force retaining its lead role in space though Air Force Space Command.
• This report is based in part on wire service reports.
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