While addressing an audience of service members at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, U.S on Tuesday, President Trump talked candidly of creating a “Space Force,” a branch of the U.S military primed to deal with potential conflict in space.
“The new National Strategy for Space recognises that space is a war-fighting domain, just like the land, air, and sea," said Trump. ”We may even have a Space Force, develop another one, Space Force. We have the Air Force, we'll have the Space Force."
The President insinuated that although the idea was something of an off-hand remark to start with, the notion gathered momentum to the point of being a serious consideration. "You know, I was saying it the other day cause we're doing a tremendous amount of work in space," Trump said. "I said 'maybe we need a new force, we'll call it the space force.' And I was not really serious, and then I said 'what a great idea, maybe we'll have to do that.'"
The idea is not entirely a new one however, as both Trump’s administration, and the Air force actively opposed the suggestion of a Space Force last year. “I oppose the creation of a new military service and additional organisational layers at a time when we are focused on reducing overhead and integrating joint warfighting efforts,” wrote Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in a letter to the ranking members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees late last year.
Although Trump did not go into the finer details of such a proposition, it is understood that the newly formed Space Corps would be responsible for overseeing all of the Air Force’s operations in space. Their goal most likely to keep ahead of rivals like China and Russia, which are advancing in space-related military operations.
Trump does have at least one supporter of such a force, Republican Mike Rogers, the chairman of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee who said in February (according to Defense News) that he expects such a force to be built in three to five years.
Wording pertaining to a new military branch called the Space Corps was removed from the final national defence authorisation bill in November, nonetheless, the bill does leave the door open to a future space-related branch.
In the middle of his speech, the President did interject with comments about the media and fake news but with parting words such as, “so think of that – Space Force – because we’re spending a lot and we have a lot of private money coming in,” it was unclear whether the president was serious or apparently joking about his remarks of a future Space Force. Either way, the White House did not respond to a request for comment.