President Trump on Monday directed the Pentagon to create a “Space Force” as the Defense Department’s sixth military service branch.
“In defending America, it is not enough to merely have an American presence in space, we must have American dominance in space,” Trump said during a meeting with members of the National Space Council.
“I’m hereby directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a space force as the sixth branch of the armed forces. That’s a big statement. We are going to have the Air Force and we are going to have the Space Force, separate but equal.”
The declaration follows remarks made in March in which he first floated the idea of creating an independent military branch for space.
“You know, I was saying it the other day — because we’re doing a tremendous amount of work in space — I said, ‘Maybe we need a new force, we’ll call it the Space Force.’” Trump said during a speech to military personnel in San Diego.
U.S. Strategic Command head Gen. John Hyten in March told lawmakers that “someday we’ll have a space corps or ‘Space Force’ in this country. But I don’t think the time is right for that right now.”
BREAKING: President Trump orders US military to form a "space force" military branch: "We must have American dominance in space." pic.twitter.com/BQ0Vcy0tdA
— NBC News (@NBCNews) June 18, 2018