'Space force': Donald Trump orders new branch of U.S. military

19 June, 2018, 04:42 | Author: Jacqueline Daniels
  • Trump announces 'Space Force' plan as he signs space policy directive

In May, following an offhand comment by Trump about the possible creation of a Space Force, Sean O'Keefe, NASA administrator and Navy secretary under President George W. Bush, said Trump's own defense secretary and Air Force secretary argued vociferously against it when members of Congress pushed it a year ago. Space-related missions are now handled by the Air Force.

Vice President Mike Pence heads the recently revived council.

"There aren't many things I'm ok with having my tax dollars spent on. but a team of space soldiers in neon colored American flag leotards with jetpacks and laser rifles is one of them".

In recent months, ballistic missile defense has been at the forefront of public concerns about North Korea's nuclear pursuits, and while these discussions have introduced the American public to several concepts like kinetic interceptors and powerful RADAR arrays in platforms like the THAAD missile defense system, but little attention has been paid to the satellite infrastructure responsible for identifying a launch when it occurs. The president said that these space plans are "great not only good in terms of jobs and everything else, but "great for the psyche of our country".

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Whatever form it takes, the creation of a new branch of the military will only invite more waste in a Department of Defense bureaucracy that continues to siphon off billions of taxpayer dollars while rarely being held accountable for how it spends its massive budget.

Trump said he previously proposed the idea as a joke, but wanted to make it clear he was now serious about it.

The Air Force has argued that space defense is well within its purview, and that a new branch not only isn't necessary, but could dilute current efforts to extend American military might into space.

The service branches have yet to issue statements in response to Mr. Trump's order, and it remains unclear what role NASA would play in the creation of the new space-based military branch.

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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is planning a series of lunar missions beginning next year aimed at developing the capacity for a return to the moon, said Cheryl Warner, a spokeswoman for NASA's Human Exploration Directorate.

The policy, executive secretary of the National Space Council Scott Pace told reporters, "seeks to address the challenges of a congested space environment". We're going to have the Air Force, and we're going to have the Space Force.

When implemented, the Space Force will be the newest addition to the United States military in over 70 years, when the Air Force was added as an official branch directly after the Second World War. "Too many important missions at stake".

Trump also offered some thoughts on United Launch Alliance, the rocket company jointly owned by Boeing and Lockheed Martin. He said the Space Force will "lead the management of traffic and mitigate the effects of debris in space... We're going to be the leader by far". "We'll save a little money and they can beat us and we're taking full credit for it, don't worry about it", Trump said.

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But that initiative was ultimately scrapped from the final version of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, as senators cited opposition from top Pentagon officials including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson.

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