MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
SUBJECT: Establishment of United States Space Command as a Unified Combatant Command
Pursuant to my authority as the Commander in Chief and under section 161 of title 10, United States Code, and in consultation with the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, I direct the establishment, consistent with United States law, of United States Space Command as a functional Unified Combatant Command. I also direct the Secretary of Defense to recommend officers for my nomination and Senate confirmation as Commander and Deputy Commander of the new United States Space Command.
I assign to United States Space Command: (1) all the general responsibilities of a Unified Combatant Command; (2) the space‑related responsibilities previously assigned to the Commander, United States Strategic Command; and (3) the responsibilities of Joint Force Provider and Joint Force Trainer for Space Operations Forces. The comprehensive list of authorities and responsibilities for United States Space Command will be included in the next update to the Unified Command Plan.
Consistent with section 161(b)(2) of title 10, United States Code, and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, you are directed to notify the Congress on my behalf.
You are authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.
DONALD J. TRUMP
USSPACECOM existed as a unified combatant command from 1985 to 2002 headquartered at Peterson AFB along with NORAD. NORAD and the Cheyenne Mountain Site were part of USSPACECOM at the time. VP Pence announced the new headquarters will be at the Kennedy Space Center. That will make Florida home to four unified combatant commands. There will be Congressional turf battles over that decision.
My experience with the old USSPACECOM started when they picked up the DOD’s computer network defense (CND) mission. I was recognized as knowing something about computers and, along with the Defense HUMINT Service Y2K preparations, was given the CND portfolio. I made one trip out to Peterson AFB. The area is beautiful. I made it to the top of Pikes Peak in a pigged out rental car that had no business being up there. General Ralph Eberhart was CINCUSSPACECOM at the time. He was a hoot. He made it clear that he knew precious little about CND, but pledged his and his command’s full support for the mission and the Joint Task Force – Computer Network Defense (JTF-CND), the unit charged with carrying out that mission. My time supporting USSPACECOM and JTF-CND was exciting, challenging and fruitful. But that’s another story.
I applaud Trump’s decision to reestablish USSPACECOM. The stated mission is pure and simple and without the distractions of CND and other ancillary missions. I also applaud its basing in the Kennedy Space Center/Patrick AFB area. It will be a constant reminder of the command’s singular mission. As with the old command, the Air Force Space Command will be the foundation upon which the new command will be built. I’m sure its headquarters will move to Patrick AFB where the 45th Space Wing is already located. Other elements of USSPACECOM will remain based throughout the country.
An article in “Politico” says Trump is taking this step because Congress is fiercely skeptical of the idea of establishing a Space Force as a separate service. I agree that Space Force is a premature idea. However, the immediate reestablishment of USSPACECOM is a necessary move. Good on ya, Mr. President, for making it so.