Senate confirms commander of new Space Command

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The Senate on Thursday evening confirmed the Air Force general tapped to lead the newly formed U.S. Space Command.

The Senate approved Gen. John Raymond to be the commander of Space Command by unanimous consent in a package of a couple dozen military nominations.

{mosads}Raymond serves as the commander of Air Force Space Command. When the Pentagon announced his nomination in March, the department said he would be dual-hatted, meaning he will now serve as both commander of U.S. Space Command and commander of Air Force Space Command.

The administration is establishing U.S. Space Command as part of its broader efforts to increase the military’s focus on space. The effort includes a push to establish Space Force as the sixth branch of the military.

Both the Senate’s version of the annual defense policy bill that passed Thursday and the House’s version that will be taken up in July include the creation of a new military branch for space, though there are differences between them that will need to be reconciled.

Under the Senate’s version of the military branch, the commander of Space Command would also serve as the commander of Space Force for one year, after which the two positions would be separated.

Earlier this month, Raymond made his way easily through his confirmation hearing to be Space Command chief with little pushback from the Senate Armed Services Committee or calls to explain the details of how the Pentagon plans to stand up the new combatant command.

In written answers to the committee, Raymond wrote there would be “substantial” challenges in setting up the new combatant command.

“The challenges in standing up a new Combatant Command are substantial,” Raymond wrote. “If confirmed, my first priority will be to ensure the seamless transition of the command and control of critical space capabilities that the nation and the joint force depend on each-and-every day. Simultaneously we need to ensure we take steps to strengthen readiness and lethality as we complete our shift from a permissive environment to a posture for warfighting.”

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