4:22 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. It’s a great honor. What a beautiful day in the Rose Garden. Please sit. Thank you.
To ensure that all resources of the federal government are focused on the arriving storm, I have decided to send our Vice President, Mike Pence, to Poland this weekend, in my place. It’s something very important for me to be here. The storm looks like it could be a very, very big one indeed. And Mike will be going.
I’ve just spoken to President Duda of Poland, and expressed to him my warmest wishes and the wishes of the American people. Our highest priority is the safety and security of the people in the path of the hurricane. And I will be rescheduling my trip to Poland in the near future.
We’re gathered here in the Rose Garden to establish 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 warfighting domain. And I think that’s pretty obvious to everybody. It’s all about space.
We’re joined by Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark Esper, Acting Director of National Intelligence Joe Maguire, Acting Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, Acting Secretary of the Air Force Matt Donovan, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford, and Congressman Mike Turner.
We’re especially grateful to welcome the new leader of SPACECOM, General Jay Raymond, a highly respected man within the military, joined this afternoon by his wife Mollie — thank you. Thank you, Mollie. Congratulations, Mollie. It’s great. Their wonderful family and several of their friends. General Raymond, congratulations. So important. I know he’s going to do a fantastic job. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
The United States combatant commands were developed to join branches of our armed forces in common cause across diverse fields of battle.
Each of the United States military’s combatant commands has an area of responsibility, from CENTCOM, which oversees our mission in the Middle East, to our most recent, CYBERCOM, which we established just last year to protect Americans from the most advanced cyber threats and also to create very, very severe and powerful offensive threats, should we need them. The dangers to our country constantly evolve, and so must we.
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.
Our adversaries are weaponizing Earth’s orbits with new technology targeting American satellites that are critical to both battlefield operations and our way of life at home. Our freedom to operate in space is also essential to detecting and destroying any missile launched against the United States.
So, just as we have recognized land, air, sea, and cyber as vital warfighting domains, we will now treat space as an independent region overseen by a new unified geographic combatant command. 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 defense.
Under General Raymond’s leadership, SPACECOM will boldly deter aggression and outpace America’s rivals, by far.
For 35 years, General Raymond has led and commanded space operations at every level in the U.S. Air Force. Mollie, I hope you’re very proud of him. I’ll bet you are. I am, too. He’s a warrior who has integrated space capabilities to make our military even stronger and to pave the way for a new era of national defense. He’s respected by everybody sitting in front of us — everybody in the military and everybody that knows him.
SPACECOM will soon be followed, very importantly, by the establishment of the United States Space Force as the sixth branch of the United States Armed Forces. And that’s really something, when you think about it. The Space Force will organize, train, and equip warriors to support SPACECOM’s mission.
With today’s action, we open another great chapter in the extraordinary history of the United States military. SPACECOM will ensure that America’s dominance in space is never questioned and never threatened, because we know the best way to prevent conflict is to prepare for victory.
From our nation’s first days, America’s military blazed the trails and crossed the frontiers that secured our nation’s future. No adversary on Earth will ever match the awesome courage, skill, and might of American Armed Forces. Today, we salute the heroic men and women who will serve in SPACECOM and keep America’s horizons forever bright and forever free.
We have budgets, since we came into the administration, since the election of 2016 — since January 20th, of 2017, we have done things with the military that few people would have thought possible. Budgets of $700 billion, $716 billion, and now $738 billion. Nobody would have thought that that was possible, but we had them approved by Republicans and Democrats. And that money is now building the most advanced equipment anywhere one Earth — equipment that nobody even could have conceived of, even two years ago. It’s very necessary. And hopefully we’ll never have to use it.
I would now like to ask Secretary Esper to sign documents formally establishing the United States Space Command. Thank you. Mr. Secretary? (Applause.)
(The documents are signed.)
LIEUTENANT GENERAL RAYMOND: Good afternoon. Mr. President, thank you for hosting us today. In doing so, you honor the airmen, sailors, soldiers, and Marines that secure our high ground for our nation.
On behalf of those men and women, we’d like to present you with a small memento that reads, “United States Space Command Establishment: 29 August 2019.” On behalf of the space warfighters, thank you for your leadership. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: That’s a big one. Thank you very much.
I’d now like to like to now invite Chief Master Sergeant Roger Towberman to the stage to unfurl the flag of the United States Space Command. Thank you very much.
(The flag is unfurled.)
4:32 P.M. EDT