Trump authorizes revival of U.S. Space Command

Vice President Mike Pence
Vice President Mike Pence delivers remarks at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. (White House via YouTube)

President Donald Trump today authorized the Pentagon to set up the U.S. Space Command as its own combatant command, in preparation for creating a Space Force as a separate branch of the military.

The authorization for the Space Command came in the form of a memorandum that doesn’t require congressional approval. Creating the Space Force, however, is dependent on action in Congress — and with Democrats taking charge of the House, there’s a chance that the force may take a form different from what the White House originally envisioned.

Cost estimates for setting up a Space Force as the first branch of the military to be created since the Air Force’s birth in 1947 range from a few billion dollars to as much as $13 billion. Some policymakers favor less expensive alternatives — such as a Space Corps that would be created within Air Force, just as the Marine Corps was created under the Navy’s administrative aegis.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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