Trump Orders Creation of 'Space Force'

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Congressional leadership first floated the creation of sixth branch of the armed forces focused on space combat (sadly, not against invading alien insects though) a year ago... and Mattis promptly blasted the idea.

Trump said that the branch would be "separate but equal" from the Air Force.

"We must have American dominance in space", Trump said.

President Donald Trump announced on Monday he's directing the Pentagon to begin a sixth branch of the military - "space force". The Air Force now has a Space Command division that oversees space-based military operations.

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Joining Trump were Vice President Mike Pence (who heads up the recently revived space council), NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine, former astronaut Buzz Aldrin and members of his space council.

Trump envisioned a bright future for the US space program, pledging to revive the country's flagging efforts, return to the moon and eventually send a manned mission that would reach Mars.

It also prohibits the placement of weapons of mass destruction in orbit around Earth. Both the Pentagon and the White House were among those against it and in October, Secretary of Defense James Mattis wrote letters to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees saying as much.

Some are anxious that the Space Force would duplicate existing efforts.

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Retired Air Force Lieutenant General 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.

Trump called space "a war-fighting domain, just like the land, air and sea", while speaking in March to service members in California. It also sets up new guidelines for satellite design and operation, to avoid collisions and spacecraft breakups.

But, citing the number of regulations his administration has dismantled since he took office, Trump warned the space council, "Don't get too carried away".

The administration's first space policy directive, signed December 11, 2017, called for NASA to focus on returning humans to the moon.

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