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Trump Wants To Create Sixth Military Branch 'Space Force'

Jun 18, 2018 10:57 PM EDT
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United States President Donald Trump reveals his plans for a sixth military branch that's focused beyond Earth. The name? Space Force.

There are five existing military branches: the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, and Navy. Now, the president is getting ready to create a brand-new one that will be looking toward the stars.

It's not the first time the idea has been entertained by the government, but there are critics who say this new branch might come up against the Air Force.

Trump Announces Plans For Space Force

"It is not enough to merely have an American presence in space, we must have American dominance in space," Trump says during a meeting of the National Space Council on Monday, June 18, according to ABC News. He adds that he's directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to start the process of establishing the new Space Force.

"We are going to have the Air Force and we are going to have the space force, separate but equal, it is going to be something," Trump continues.

Jim Bridenstine, NASA administrator, has a positive outlook on the move, especially since operations in space are continuing at full force with manned missions and an increasing number of satellites.

"[It] provides guidelines and initiatives to ensure that America is a leader in providing a safe and secure environment as space traffic increases," Bridenstine says about Trump's directive. "Common sense space situational awareness and traffic management will be good for our economy and will help provide a more stable environment for the burgeoning space economy."

What Critics Say

There are military officials — particularly from the Air Force, who is currently in charge of military operations in space — who have expressed reservations about the idea of creating a new branch.

Defense Secretary James Mattis has said that he's opposed to the idea, writing to Rep. Mike Turner, who led the congressional effort against the Space Corps, about his doubts about adding a new service.

Members of the Congress, who will need to give budgetary approval for the Space Force, are also very divided on taking away responsibility from the Air Force, Reuters notes.

In a testimony in front of the House Armed Services Committee, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for space policy Doug Loverro also spoke out, saying a new branch isn't necessary for a "space-smart civilian and military force" the country needs.

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