By John Vibes
This week, Air Force Gen. John “Jay” Raymond was sworn in as the chief of Space Operations for the new United States Space Force. While it was initially reported as somewhat of a joke when Donald Trump first announced it, the U.S. Space Force is a very real thing and is now the seventh military branch of the Pentagon.
On Tuesday, Raymond was sworn in by Vice President Pence at his ceremonial office.
“It is President Trump’s belief that the United States must remain as dominant in space as we are on land and sea and the air. And your charge is to see to that mission with the United States Space Force,” Pence said during the ceremony.
Raymond responded by saying, “Mr. Vice President, we have our marching orders and we are moving out. We do not want a conflict to begin or extend into space, we want to deter that conflict from happening. The best way I know how to do that is to do so from a position of strength.”
The Space Force will be comprised of roughly 16,000 officers and other personnel from the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Command. In fact Raymond is himself a commander of both the Air Force Space Command and the U.S. Space Command, possibly signaling that these agencies will be working very closely and consisting of many of the same members.
In addition to the personnel from other agencies the Space Force was granted $40 million through the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
Trump is expected to hold a meeting with Pentagon officials this week to discuss uniform and logo details for the new agency. The meeting will include Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett, and the new chief of Space Operations Jay Raymond.
The Trump administration is also planning on sending a legislative proposal to Congress for the fiscal year of 2021 which would create National Guard and Reserve units for the Space Force. The proposal also seeks to consolidate other space-related organizations in the government under the Space Force banner including the Space Development Agency.
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