Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, assists placing the service dress coat onto Chief of Space Operations Space Force Gen. John W. Raymond as Raymond joined the Joint Chiefs of Staff on December 11, 2020. Photo by PO First Class Carlos Vasquez/Department of Defense
Dec. 18 (UPI) -- Gen. John Raymond, chief of the U.S. Space Force, will become the eighth member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Defense Department announced Friday.
He will formally join the group Monday. The Space Force, currently under the U.S. Air Force, was established in 2019 as a planned separate branch of the U.S. military command.
It is expected to grow to about 20,000 members. Currently about 2,500 personnel, largely transfers from the Air Force, are in the Space Force.
The elevation of the force to the same status as the Army, Navy and Marines is an indication of the government's acknowledgement of space as a military domain.
"We recognize it [space] clearly as a warfighting domain," Gen. Mark Milley, the Joint Chiefs chairman, said at a Pentagon ceremony inducting Raymond.
"We also know that we, the United States, we've got to maintain capabilities in that domain if we are going to continue to deter great power war." Milley said. This is an incredibly important organization for the United States military and for the United States as a country."
The Space Force chief joins the chairman, the vice chairman, the Army chief of staff, commandant of the Marine Corps, chief of Naval operations, Air Force chief of staff and the chief of the National Guard Bureau on the body of military leaders and government advisers.
"By establishing the U.S. Space Force and having the chief of space operations become a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, it demonstrates that our nation recognizes the critical role Space Force plays in national security," Raymond said at the ceremony.