President Donald Trump officially funded the U.S. Space Force, a Pentagon force focused on space warfare.
The new military service falls under the U.S. Air Force, the first one in more than 70 years.
Mr Trump described space as “the newest war-fighting domain in the world” at an army base near Washington.
“Amid grave threats to our national security, American superiority in space is absolutely vital, we’re leading, but we’re not leading by enough, but very shortly we’ll be leading by a lot,” he said.
“The Space Force will help us deter aggression and control the ultimate high ground,” Mr Trump added.
The allocation of funds was confirmed on Friday when the president signed the annual US military budget of $738bn (£ 567bn).
The Space Force’s launch will be funded for its first year by an estimated $40 m.
It is not intended to put troops in space or orbit, but it will protect US assets, such as the hundreds of satellites used to communicate and surveillance.
It comes as U.S. military chiefs see China and Russia make progress or advancements on the final military frontier.
Previously, Vice President Mike Pence said the two nations had airborne lasers and anti-satellite missiles that the United States had to counter.
He said, “The space environment has fundamentally changed in the last generation, What was once peaceful and uncontested is now crowded and adversarial.”
Space Force will build on the work of the existing US Space Command (SpaceCom), created in August to handle the space operations of the U.S. military.
Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett said about 16,000 Air Force and civilian personnel would be part of the Space Force.
It will be led by General Jay Raymond of the Air Force, who is currently running SpaceCom.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin indicated space expansion in the US earlier this month posed a threat to Russian interests and required a response from Russia.
Mr Putin said, “The US military-political leadership openly considers space as a military theatre and plans to conduct operations there.”


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