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Trump revives US Space Command for military operations

Vice President Mike Pence also says Space Force is still on the table.

pencescreenshot

Vice President Mike Pence announces the revival of the US Space Command in Florida. 

Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

It's not just NASA that has interests in orbit. The US military has long been involved in space activities ranging from satellite communications to intelligence gathering. That work will be unified under one umbrella with the revival of the US Space Command. 

Vice President Mike Pence announced the return of Space Command during a speech at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Tuesday. "President Trump will direct the Department of Defense to establish a combatant command that will oversee all our military activities in space," he said.

Space Command will become the military's 11th combatant command, each of which oversees a geographic or functional mission. It joins existing entities including Cyber Command and Transportation Command.  

Space Command was originally created in 1985, but later merged into Strategic Command in 2002. Donald Trump's directive will once again make Space Command its own entity. "It will develop the space doctrine, tactics, techniques, and procedures that will enable our warfighters to defend our nation in this new era," Pence said.

The administration hasn't forgotten about Space Force, first proposed by Trump in a March speech. Pence also announced Trump will soon sign a new space policy directive that will lay out plans and a timeline for the creation of the Space Force as a sixth branch of the armed forces.  

Pence addressed members of the Air Force's 45th Space Wing. He was attending a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch scheduled for Tuesday, but the launch was postponed due to a flight computer error. The rocket is set to carry an Air Force GPS satellite into orbit. 

Space Command will be headed up by a four-star officer. Trump's memorandum for the Secretary of Defense asks James Mattis to recommend officers for nomination as commander and deputy commander.

"A new era of American national security in space begins today," Pence said.

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