Trump Administration adds Pentagon 'Space Force' to U.S. spy agency group

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U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a presentation of the United States Space Force Flag in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 15, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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WASHINGTON, Jan 8 (Reuters) - President Donald Trump's Space Force established in 2019 will become a full member of the U.S. intelligence community, the administration said on Friday.

John Ratcliffe, Trump's director of National Intelligence, said the U.S. Space Force would become the 18th member of the U.S. intelligence community, which is led by Ratcliffe's office and includes the CIA, FBI, National Security Agency and multiple agencies in the Defense, Treasury, Homeland Security and Energy departments.

Making the Space Force a member of the intelligence community "breaks down barriers to information sharing and ensures that Space Force leadership has access to all the intelligence it needs to be successful," the office said.

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A senior intelligence official told Reuters, "We now refer to outer space as a war fighting domain."

In 1967, the U.S. ratified an international treaty on peaceful uses of outer space that included agreements not to place in orbit around the Earth or install on the moon or other celestial bodies nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction. It also limited the use of celestial bodies exclusively to peaceful purposes.

The official said in 2019 USSF issued "public statements describing Russian activities in space ... testing U.S. responses in space and menacing U.S. spacecraft." He said the United States was also aware of "efforts of the Chinese to build counterspace capabilities."

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Reporting By Mark Hosenball; Editing by Steve Orlofsky

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