President Donald J. Trump signed into law legislation creating the first new armed service since 1947 — the U.S. Space Force.
Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act during a ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, Md, today. The $738 billion fiscal year 2020 authorization funds military and civilian pay raises, new aircraft, ship construction, tanks and armored vehicles and more.
Since Trump took office, there has been almost $2.5 trillion in defense spending.
A provision of the voluminous law created the service that will be totally focused on organizing, training and equipping Space Force, said Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett during an earlier Pentagon briefing.
“Space is the world’s newest warfighting domain,” Trump said at Andrews. “Amid grave threats to our national security, American superiority in space is absolutely vital. We’re leading, but we’re not leading by enough, and very shortly, we’ll be leading by a lot.”
Space Force will help the United States deter aggression and control the ultimate high ground, the president said.
The new service will immediately amalgamate all members of the Air Force Space Command into the new service, Barrett said. “We are moving forward with alacrity and in accordance with presidential direction, congressional legislation and DOD guidance,” she said. “Personnel assigned to the initial Space Force headquarters located within the Pentagon will now take over the Space Force planning.”
Air Force Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, the commander of U.S. Space Command, will direct the effort. The president named Raymond the chief of Space Operations, and the general will be a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The new service emphasizes the importance the nation places on space to U.S. and allied security, Raymond said.
The Space Command, a combatant command, will not go away. It will be DOD’s warfighting arm in space. The Space Force, like the services in other domains, will be responsible for organizing, training and equipping the mission.
“U.S. Space Command will only be as strong as the capabilities it is provided by the United States Space Force,” Raymond said. “Let there be no mistake, the United States is the best in the world in space today. Consistent with our National Defense Strategy, the United States Space Force will ensure we compete, deter and win from a position of strength, securing our way of life and our national security.”
The new service is small by DOD standards with about 16,000 Air Force personnel — active duty and civilian — to start. “They will effectively be the Space Force immediately,” Barrett said.
Raymond said there are many actions that are going to have to take place — from uniform, to a logo, to who’s in the Space Force and who’s not in the Space Force.
They will also rename some Air Force bases to reflect the new missions, he said.