It’s official: U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday for the creation of a “U.S. Space Command.”
The idea is to “streamline command and control of time-sensitive operations” and “consolidate space operations under a single authority” under a newly created Space Command, according to CNN. It could also be a response to what news outlets have called a “space arms race.” U.S. politicians have raised concerns, for example, over world powers like China and Russia developing possible anti-satellite technology.
The Trump Administration has been advocating for a “Space Force” — an all-out military branch — since President Trump first introduced the concept back in March.
“It is not enough to have an American presence in space,” said U.S. Vice President Mike Pence during a speech at the Pentagon in August, for instance. “We must have American dominance in space,”
The Space Command could be laying the groundwork for the Space Force. It’ll be cheaper, for one thing: the AP reports it’ll cost just $800 million over five years, compared to a projected $13 billion for the Space Force over the same period.
The executive order could also be a concession to political reality. Congress’s Spending Bill for 2019 didn’t include any funding for a Space Force, so it will be at least a year until we could see such a branch created under the U.S. military’s command.
And the new Space Command won’t be the first in the U.S: the country founded its first Space Command in 1985, the AP pointed out, which was disbanded in 2002 in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, when attention was refocused to homeland security.
READ MORE: The Latest: Trump signs order to create US Space Command [The Associated Press]
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