While the situation on the US-Mexico border is getting worse day by day, Trump was nowhere to be found. In fact, he wasn’t even on Earth. Donald Trump met with the National Space Council, and he promised to create the “Space Force,” a new branch of the military which will be in charge of extraterrestrial affairs.
“I am 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,” Trump said.
NASA’s yearly budget is close to $20 billion, and they have just scratched the surface of space. This isn’t enough for the US president who said: “Our destiny beyond the Earth is not only a matter of national identity but a matter of national security.”
Trump came up with this idea of a Space Force in March when he was talking with the military. “Space is a war-fighting domain, just like the land, air, and sea. We may even have a space force,” announcing that America “wouldn’t even be thinking about” missions to Mars if Hillary Clinton had won.
He also mentioned Space Force to the West Point football team at the White House. He said: “You will be part of the five proud branches of the United States Armed Forces: Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and the Coast Guard. And we’re actually thinking of a sixth, and that would be the Space Force. You probably haven’t even heard that. I’m just telling you now. We’re getting very big in space, both militarily and for other reasons, and we are seriously thinking of the Space Force.”
Not everyone favors this idea – Pentagon, the Air Force and Secretary of Defense James Mattis who wrote in a letter: “I oppose the creation of a new military service and additional organizational layers at a time when we are focused on reducing overhead and integrating joint warfighting efforts.”
However, there are some optimists when it comes to the creation of the Space Force. They claim that both China and Russia are more militarily advanced beyond the atmosphere and that the US must not lag behind. The new branch that would “fight and win wars in space” should have been created by January 1st, 2019 but the proposal was cut from the National Defense Authorization Act.
Initially, it was thought for the Space Corps to be under the wing of the Air Force, but Trump suggested their independence. He stated: “We are going to have the Air Force, and we are going to have the Space Force, separate but equal.” He continued by adding that the establishment of the Space Force was important because “we don’t want China and Russia and other countries leading us.”
Trump also addressed the mission to Mars which he is happy to leave it to people such as Elon Musk. Last year in December, Trump signed White House Space Policy Directive 1 that will put more men on the Moon and Mars, eventually.
“The directive I am signing today will refocus America’s space program on human exploration and discovery,” Trump said at the time. “It marks a first step in returning American astronauts to the Moon for the first time since 1972, for long-term exploration and use. This time, we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprints – we will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars, and perhaps someday, too many worlds beyond.”
Several months later, the US president signed White House Space Policy Directive 2 that reformed “America’s commercial space regulatory framework.” On Monday, he signed Directive 3 that focuses on removing space debris and managing space traffic. These directives were expected, but nobody saw it coming for POTUS to promise the Space Force. Even though it would take a lot of time and money to create such a force, Trump said: “There’s no place like space.”