President to the Secretary of Defense Regarding the Establishment of the United States Space Command
MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
SUBJECT: Establishment of United States Space Command as a Unified Combatant Command
Pursuant to my authority as the Commander in Chief and under section 161 of title 10, United States Code, and in consultation with the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, I direct the establishment, consistent with United States law, of United States Space Command as a functional Unified Combatant Command. I also direct the Secretary of Defense to recommend officers for my nomination and Senate confirmation as Commander and Deputy Commander of the new United States Space Command.
Foreign Policyreports that U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson might be on the way out because President Donald Trump is angry over slow progress on setting up an independent space force.
Wilson, a former Republican congresswoman from New Mexico, recently angered Trump as well as Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, Defense Secretary James Mattis’s second in command, with what is seen as a campaign to undermine the Space Force effort, the sources said.
The news comes just weeks after an explosive new book by journalist Bob Woodward alleged that members of Trump’s Cabinet, including Mattis himself, are quietly trying to undercut or slow roll the president’s orders. An anonymous op-ed published in the New York Times last month described similar resistance within the administration.
In the current case, the administration believes Wilson also “is trying to undermine this part of the president’s agenda from within,” said one source with knowledge of the internal debate.
“Some senior officials know how to disagree with [the president] without being disagreeable to him. Heather Wilson hasn’t managed to do that. Her opposition to the Space Force has grated on him and I think he permanently sees her as troublesome and ineffective now,” an administration official told FP.
The Wall Street Journalreports that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis plans to remove John “Jay” Gibson II from the post of chief management officer (CMO) for a “lack of performance.”
The decision comes less than a year after the former XCOR CEO joined the Defense Department as deputy CMO in November 2017. The Senate subsequently confirmed him as defense CMO in February 2018.
In that position, Gibson’s job is to find ways of making the massive defense bureaucracy more efficient to free up funding to modernize the armed forces.
XCOR hired Gibson in March 2015 to replace founder Jeff Greason as CEO. The objective was for Gibson to focus on the business side while Greason focused on completing construction on the Lynx suborbital space plane.
That arrangement did not work out. By November, Greason and two other founders, Dan DeLong and Aleta Jackson, had left the company to found Agile Aerospace.
The Trump Administration announced its nomination of Gibson for the post of deputy CMO in June 2017. He left XCOR shortly thereafter at a time when the struggling space company laid off all its employees. A few people were hired back on a contract basis.
XCOR filed for bankruptcy in November 2017. The company’s assets were purchased by a non-profit organization.