US intel community expands with Space Force unit

AP Political

Chief of Space Operations at U.S. Space Force Gen. John Raymond speaks at a ceremony to commemorate the first birthday of the U.S. Space Force at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex​, Friday, Dec. 18, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. intelligence community got larger on Friday with the addition of the U.S. Space Force.

The Space Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Enterprise became the 18th member of the intelligence apparatus. It has not been expanded since 2006 when the Drug Enforcement Administration’s intelligence unit became a member.

“This accession reaffirms our commitment to securing outer space as a safe and free domain for America’s interests,” National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe said during an afternoon ceremony with Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond.

In December 2019, President Donald Trump celebrated the launch of Space Force — the first new military service in more than 70 years — saying that space is the “world’s new war-fighting domain.”

Making it a co-equal member of the intelligence community aims to improve the access and sharing of information across the nation’s intelligence agencies and give it clout in advocating for intelligence funding to protect the U.S. in space.

For the military, Space Force answers a need to more effectively organize for the defense of U.S. interests in space — especially satellites used for navigation and communication. A Pentagon report asserted that China and Russia have embarked on major efforts to develop technologies that could allow them to disrupt or destroy American and allied satellites in a crisis or conflict. Space Force is not designed or intended to put combat troops in space.

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