Aerospace Defense

President Trump Again Hinted New Military Branch Dedicated to Space

Retired Army Col. Mark Vande Hei prepares to train inside NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory pool near Johnson Space Center in Houston on March 1, 2017. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump said military officials are looking at creating a new military branch focused on space.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday again hinted at the chance of a brand new military service committed to space, saying discussions are already underway with defense officials.

During a ceremony honoring the Army football team, Trump praised players as representatives of “the five proud branches” of the military: the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.

And then Trump added, “We’re actually thinking about a sixth.”

“That will be the space force,” the commander in chief said. “Does that produce sense? We’re getting very big in space, both militarily as well as other reasons. And we are seriously thinking of an area force.”

In March, at the similar military event at Miramar Air Station in California, Trump said his new national security strategy “recognizes that space is really a war-fighting domain just as the land, air and sea,” adding that “we might have a place force” eventually.

The idea drew widespread confusion among defense officials, due to the fact last year Pentagon planners argued strongly against an agenda from House lawmakers to interrupt the Air Force’s space programs into a separate, stand-alone force to reduce on bureaucracy.

At the time, they argued a separate space-focused military branch would add unneeded bureaucracy to a already complex military command structure. Senate lawmakers ultimately forced the theory to become tabled.

But last month, with a round-table event with reporters, Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said his service would debate merits with the idea inside a overview of Air Force needs and challenges in coming years.

More than 70 years have passed since Congress created a fresh military branch. In 1947, lawmakers approved separating some aviation missions in to the a recently formed Air Force, so that you can help prioritize research and military response because domain.

Earlier this coming year, Reps. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., and Mike Rogers, R-Ala., the two most prominent supporters with the idea in Congress, said they think an area-focused military service may be internal another 3-5 years. They have argued that Air Force officials have let space capability atrophy for some air needs.

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