Dec. 18 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump on Tuesday ordered the Department of Defense to establish a Space Command as a possible precursor to a military Space Force.
The order called for the secretary of defense to recommend officers to be nominated and further confirmed by the Senate as commander and deputy commander of the command.
Trump also ordered that the command take on all the general responsibilities of a Unified Combatant Command, the space‑related responsibilities previously assigned to the commander of U.S. Strategic Command, and the responsibilities of joint force provider and joint force trainer for Space Operations Forces.
"For years, foreign nations have been developing electronic weapons to jam, blind, and disable satellites," Pence said. "China and Russia are working to station new weapons directly in space and frankly these new challenges demand new and innovative responses, and that's precisely what we've been providing."
Pence added that the Space Command will include troops from all branches of the military.
"This action reflects the value of space contributions to national security, the evolution of the threats to U.S. space systems, and the importance of deterring potential adversaries from attacking U.S. space systems," Deputy Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan wrote on Twitter. "It is urgent that we address space as a warfighting domain and this combatant command is a critical step in that direction."
Shanahan said establishing the U.S. Space Command would allow the United States "to accelerate our space capabilities to defend our National interests and deter our adversaries," adding the Pentagon was continuing to work on a proposal to position the Space Force as a sixth U.S. military service.
Once both entities are established, the Space Force and Space Command will function in the same way as the other five military services and four functional combatant commands.
"The Space Force will serve as a force provider for personnel, assets and capabilities supporting space operations while Space Command will serve as the operational command that will employ space capabilities and lead space operations," Shanahan said.