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Trump Plans to Create Space Command    12/18 06:13

   President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order soon, possibly 
as early as Tuesday, creating a U.S. Space Command that will better organize 
and advance the military's vast operations in space, U.S. officials say.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive 
order soon, possibly as early as Tuesday, creating a U.S. Space Command that 
will better organize and advance the military's vast operations in space, U.S. 
officials say.

   Vice President Mike Pence will make the announcement Tuesday at the Kennedy 
Space Center, in Cape Canaveral, Florida, two U.S. officials said.

   Trump's order is separate from his oft-stated goal of creating a "Space 
Force" as an independent armed service branch, but it's considered a step in 
that direction. The move will launch a long and complicated process, requiring 
the Defense Department to pull together various space units and agencies from 
across the military services into a more coordinated, independent organization.

   The U.S. Air Force's existing Space Command would be a key component of the 
new joint entity, raising space to the same status as U.S. Cyber Command.

   The U.S. officials said the order will be signed by the end of the year, but 
could happen as early as Tuesday. They spoke on condition of anonymity because 
they weren't authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

   The move would actually recreate a U.S. Space Command, which existed from 
1985 to 2002. It was disbanded in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks 
so U.S. Northern Command could be established, focusing on defense of the 
homeland.

   Although Space Command went away, its functions did not. They were absorbed 
by U.S. Strategic Command, and the Air Force retained its lead role in space 
through Air Force Space Command.

   The military has been trying for decades to reorganize and accelerate 
technological advances in space. Some blame the Air Force for underinvesting in 
space because it prefers spending on warplanes.

   The key goal is to find more effective ways to defend U.S. interests in 
space, especially the constellations of satellites that U.S. ground, sea and 
air forces rely on for navigation, communications and surveillance. These roles 
make them increasingly tempting military targets as China and Russia work on 
ways to disrupt, disable and even destroy American satellites.

   The military's role in space has been under scrutiny because the United 
States is increasingly reliant on orbiting satellites that are difficult to 
protect.

   U.S. intelligence agencies reported earlier this year that Russia and China 
were pursuing "nondestructive and destructive" anti-satellite weapons for use 
during a future war. And there are growing worries about cyberattacks that 
could target satellite technology, potentially leaving troops in combat without 
electronic communications or navigation abilities.


(KA)

 
 
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