Washington: US President Donald Trump led a ceremony to proclaim the creation of a new element of the Armed Forces, the United States Space Command.
"It's a big deal. As the newest combatant command, SPACECOM will defend America's vital interests in space - the next war-fighting domain. And I think that's pretty obvious to everybody. It's all about space," Trump told a gathering in the White House Rose Garden on Thursday, Efe news reported.
The president said SPACECOM is needed to counter the actions of adversaries who are "targeting American satellites that are critical to both battlefield operations and our way of life at home."
SPACECOM's stated mission is to coordinate the activities of the various branches of the Armed Forces so as to ensure the security of the interests in space of the US and its allies.
With the establishment of SPACECOM, the Defence Department regains the major role it had in US space activities between 1955-2002.
"So, just as we have recognized land, air, sea, and cyber as vital war-fighting domains, we will now treat space as an independent region overseen by a new unified geographic combatant command," Trump said.
"The establishment of the 11th Combatant Command is a landmark moment. This is a landmark day - one that recognizes the centrality of space to America's national security and defence," he said.
The new command is to be led by Air Force Gen. John Raymond, who was present for the event at the White House.
"Good afternoon, Mr. President, thank you for hosting us today. In doing so, you honour the airmen, sailors, soldiers, and Marines that secure our high ground for our nation," Raymond said.
The installation of SPACECOM is a step toward Trump's plan for a Space Force that would join the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard as a sixth branch of the military.
To become a reality, Space Force will need congressional approval.
"Now, those who wish to harm the United States to - seek to challenge us in the ultimate high ground of space. It's going to be a whole different ballgame," Trump said as Defence Secretary Mark Esper prepared to sign the documents creating SPACECOM.