Vice President Mike Pence, right, swears in Air Force General John Raymond as Chief of Space Operations, in his Ceremonial Office in the White House complex, Jan. 14, 2020 in Washington, as his wife, Molly Raymond, looks on.
Vice President Mike Pence, right, swears in Air Force General John Raymond as Chief of Space Operations, in his Ceremonial Office in the White House complex, Jan. 14, 2020 in Washington, as his wife, Molly Raymond, looks on.

PENTAGON - Vice President Mike Pence has formally sworn in in Gen. John "Jay" Raymond as the new Chief of Space Operations Tuesday at the White House,.

Raymond assumed the duties of the first head of the Space Force on December 20, 2019, when U.S. President Donald Trump signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act that officially launched the new force.

"The Space Force will help us deter aggression and control the ultimate high ground," Trump said at the NDAA signing last month.

Officials say the Space Force will organize, train and equip military personnel who primarily focus on space operations.

Vice President Mike Pence, right, applauds during swearing in ceremony for Air Force General John Raymond as Chief of Space Operations, in his Ceremonial Office in the White House complex, Jan. 14, 2020 in Washington.

Raymond was named commander of the new United States Space Command upon its creation in August of last year. That command seeks to better organize the U.S. military's space assets and operations.

The military's role in space has come under scrutiny because the U.S. is increasingly reliant on orbiting satellites that are difficult to protect. Satellites provide communications, navigation, intelligence and other services vital to the military and the national economy.

The Space Force is the newest military service branch and will fall under the Department of the Air Force, much as the U.S. Marine Corps is a separate service within the Department of the Navy.

Officials have said the Space Force will initially include thousands of Air Force service members and civilian personnel currently serving within the Air Force's Space Command.

Personnel from the Army and Navy's space programs also are eventually expected to be integrated into the new service branch.