WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump has launched the Pentagon's new Space Command. It's an effort to better organize and advance the military's vast operations in space that could cost as much as $800 million over the next five years.
Trump signed the 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.
Trump's order is separate from his oft-stated goal of creating a "Space Force" as an independent armed service branch, but it's considered a step in that direction. The move will require the Defense Department to pull together various space units and agencies from across the military services into a more coordinated, independent organization.
The move comes amid growing concerns that China and Russia are working on ways to disrupt, disable or even destroy U.S. satellites.