March 3 (UPI) -- The U.S. Space Force chief said on Wednesday that White House backing of the new service branch demonstrates that space is a national security issue.
Gen. John Raymond told a virtual conference of the National Press Club that a statement in February by White House press secretary Jen Psaki, indicating support of the branch from the administration of President Joe Biden, makes it "really clear that this is not a political issue, it's an issue of national security."
Established in 2019 at the urging of former President Donald Trump and with bipartisan support from Congress, the Space Force has been ridiculed by some as a Trump vanity project.
Psaki said in a briefing on Feb. 3 that the Space Force "absolutely [has] the full support of the Biden administration, and we are not revisiting the decision to establish the Space Force."
Raymond told conference attendees that the 16-month old service branch "is already paying great dividends" in aiding the United States to "stay ahead and be the world's leader in space."
Space is "infused into every facet of our daily life [and] even though it may not be readily apparent, the Space Force has a strong and daily connection with nearly every American," he said, referring to GPS and satellite-based communications.
Since Russia and China could target satellites with satellites of their own, such as those with jamming capabilities, Raymond added, "There's no such thing as a space war."
"It's war, and nations might choose to conduct operations in that war ... either on the sea, or in the air, or on the ground, or now in space. And so, I think just like every other traditional domain of warfare, this is just integrated into that larger strategic conflict," Raymond said.
Although the United Nations has enacted five treaties since 1967 governing military uses of space, including agreements not to militarize the moon or put nuclear weapons in space, Raymond compared the situation in space to ''the wild, wild West" with "no norms of behavior."
Other than the U.N. treaties, he said, "there's no rules. We really believe -- I really believe -- there needs to be some rules [on] safe and professional conduct. I think our allies and partners that we operate with also think that."