Trump orders Pentagon to create U.S. 'space force'

In this frame from NASA TV NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold left and NASA astronaut Drew Feustel work on shuffling around a couple of space station pumps at the International Space Station on Wednesday

But his directive will task the Defense Department to begin the process of establishing the "Space Force" as the sixth branch of the USA armed forces.

"That's a big statement".

"General Dunford, if you would carry that assignment out, I would be very greatly honoured", Trump said according to The New York Times, with Dunford replying: "We got it". Mike D. Rogers (R-Ala.) and Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) proposed the creation of a "Space Corps" within the Air Force, but the idea was shut down by Pentagon officials, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, due to the costs a division of space soldiers would incur.

So what comes next?

"The United States will not be a migrant holding facility", Trump said. "Space is a different kind of domain than air", Doug Loverro told members of Congress during a hearing on space warfighting readiness.

The National Defense Authorization Act of 1947 created the Air Force.

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Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Dave Deptula, dean of the Air Force Association-founded Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, described the decision to create a Space Force as "another example of ready, fire, aim", in a Monday news briefing. Where's General Dunford? General?

Unfortunately for Trump, the president needs the support of Congress to move forward with the plans, which is seeming unlikely with the amount of opposition the move has gathered.

The Defense Department's new National Defense Strategy, released earlier this year, outlined a new national security doctrine for the USA, shifting focus away from recent counterterrorism operations that have defined America's wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and elsewhere for the last several decades, to threats posed by near-peer competitors such as Russian Federation and China. "We must have American dominance in space", Trump said.

Debate over the issue has raged in Congress for years, with some supportive of the idea and others insisting space duties remain under the Air Force as they are now. It's unclear at this time what the Space Force will oversee versus NASA.

Harrison, on Twitter, added that funding a new military service would not likely require a massive budget increase because much of the infrastructure and manpower already exists. "We've always led", he added. He has since offered limited details about how the Space Force would operate. Harrison also tweeted that "The president can't just create a new military service on his own".

The U.S. military and intelligence agencies are increasingly concerned about the vulnerability of space-based systems. This would be an enormous increase in U.S. military spending on space. "Organizational changes don't fix all the problems". The 1967 outer space treaty states that no nation can claim territory in space, nixing the usual rationale for a troop presence.

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