United States President Donald Trump on Tuesday issued an order to create an American space command. In his memorandum to Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis, Trump said a more “comprehensive list of authorities and responsibilities” for the new “unified combatant command” will be released soon.

This move is consistent with American laws, the US president added. He asked Mattis to recommend officers for the posts of commander and deputy commander of the new entity.

In June, Trump used the term “separate but equal” while directing the Department of Defense and the Pentagon to establish a “space force” as the sixth branch of the country’s armed forces. The term came to be commonly used after a US Supreme Court verdict ruled that racially separate facilities, if equal, do not violate the country’s Constitution. While the latest order does not set up a “space force”, an AFP report said it could be considered as a move in that direction.

Observers have expressed concern that Trump’s plans may pave the way for a militarised outer space.