President Trump and Vice President Pence are hosting a ceremony to establish the United States Space Command with Defense Secretary Mark Esper and the commander of U.S. Space Command Gen. John Raymond on Thursday, Aug. 29 at the White House.
Earlier, Vice President Pence and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford announced on Tuesday at the National Space Council meeting in Virginia that U.S. Space Command would officially launch on Aug. 29.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Wednesday said, “I’m excited for tomorrow’s activation of the United States Space Command to ensure the protection of America’s interests in space. We must apply the necessary focus, energy and resources to the task. That is exactly what the command will do.”
“As a unified command, the United States Space Command is the next crucial step toward the creation of an independent Space Force as an additional armed service—an independent additional armed service,” said Esper.
Last week, Vice President Pence said, “The United States Space Force will ensure that our nation is prepared to defend our people, defend our interests, and to defend our values in the vast expanse of space and here on Earth with the technologies that will support our common defense for the vast reaches of outer space.”
Gen. John Raymond was confirmed by the Senate in June to be the commander of Space Command.
According to The Hill, the Space Command will be responsible for planning and carrying out space operations. It will have 87 units at its launch with abilities including missile warning, satellite operations, space control, and space support, Dunford said at a meeting of the National Space Council earlier this month.
Dunford said on Tuesday that a Space Force will “have a positive impact on our ability to grow the people and the capabilities that we’re going to need in the future.”
“I’m confident that the focus that a single service will bring to bear on space is going to have a profound difference,” he added.
The establishment of U.S. Space Command is seen as a step toward the Space Force, which will require Congressional approval.