Space

US Military's First Chief Of Space Sworn In

General John W. Raymond will now lead the US Space Force.

The first head of the new United States Space Force has been sworn in by US Vice President Mike Pence.

General John W. Raymond is now Chief of Space Operations and will sit at the top military table as one of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff.

General Raymond will now be in charge of 16,000 US air personnel, military and civilians who were previously part of the US Air Force.

The US Space Force is the sixth branch of America's military.

The aim of the service is to organise, equip and train forces to protect US and allied interests in space.

US President Donald Trump says space is the newest warfighting domain and has driven the project since taking office.

General Raymond appeared to be Mr Trump's first choice, according to Mike Pence.

"He never hesitated," said the Vice President.

"He knew right away there was no one more qualified or more prepared from a life-time of service than General J. Raymond."

Space Satellite
Satellites could be at risk from conflict (Picture: US Department of Defense).

As the landscape for traditional warfighting continues to change, space is now a possible battleground and, in particular, satellites are now at a greater risk as a potential target in conflict.

Taking them out could do anything from stopping navigation systems from working – to crippling surveillance and intelligence gathering.

"We do not want a conflict to begin or extend into space, we want to deter that conflict from happening," General John W. Raymond said.

"The best way I know how to do that is to do so from a position of strength," he added.

The UK is also looking at space as a military domain, with then-Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt stating last May that she wanted the Royal Air Force to be seen as a place for pilots to earn "their space wings".

A £30 million investment in satellite tecnology was also confirmed at the time.

Watch: is the British military ready to fight in space?