Trump signed a one-page memorandum Tuesday authorizing the Department of Defense to create the new command.
The goal is to set up a command to oversee and organize space operations, accelerate technical advances and find more effective ways to defend U.S. assets in space, including the vast constellations of satellites that American forces rely on for navigation, communications and surveillance. The move comes amid growing concerns that China and Russia are working on ways to disrupt, disable or even destroy U.S. satellites.
The new order is separate from the president's much-touted goal of creating a "Space Force" as an independent armed service branch, but is considered a first step in that direction. The memo provides little detail on what will be a long and complicated process as the Defense Department begins to pull together various space units from across the military services into a more coordinated, independent organization.