U.S. Air Force Gen.John "Jay" Raymond was nominated on Tuesday to lead the U.S. Space Command, the proposed sixth branch of the U.S. military. Photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force
March 27 (UPI) -- Air Force Gen. John "Jay" Raymond has been nominated to lead the U.S. Space Command, the Pentagon announced.
Raymond is currently commander of the Air Force Space Command at Peterson AFB, Colo., and is also the Joint Force Space Component commander, directing the U.S. Strategic Command space forces. He was previously the Air Force deputy chief of staff for operations at the Pentagon.
Chains of authority at the U.S. Space Force have not yet been determined, but a budget overview of the proposed Space Force could have the AFSPC, Raymond's current command, absorbed into USSPACECOM.
President Donald Trump nominated Raymond to the Space Command leadership position on Tuesday.
Trump signed a directive in February ordering the Department of Defense to create the Space Force, a sixth branch of the military, initially as part of the Air Force. The directive ordered the Pentagon to compile legislation creating the branch, and to present it to Congress. The Space Force would be managed by an Air Force undersecretary for space and have representation on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The plan was announced in 2019 by Vice President Mike Pence, and comes as the United States accelerate development its military space program to compete with China's.
Last week, U.S. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told the Center for Strategic and International Studies that the United States requires such a command to maintain the nation's "dominance" in space and protect the systems the military and country depend on.
"My goal and the department's goal is to grow what we call our 'margin of dominance' in space," Shanahan said. "This margin is now contested. What is vital is that we protect a $19 trillion economy and the systems our military runs on."