Trump announces plans for “Space Force” as new military branch
19 June 2018
During a meeting with the National Space Council yesterday, President Trump announced his intention to create a “Space Force” as the sixth branch of the US military.
The move would elevate US military operations in space within the overall command structure of the military, placing it on an equal footing with the Navy, Air Force, Marines, Army and Coast Guard. US military operations in space are currently overseen by the Air Force’s Space Command.
Trump made clear that the move was part of preparations for war with Russia and China. “Our destiny beyond the Earth is not only a matter of national identity but a matter of national security,” Trump said yesterday, adding that the United States should not have “China and Russia and other countries leading us.”
In his typically ignorant fashion, Trump declared that the new branch would be “separate but equal” from the Air Force, a phrase infamous in American history as the legal pretext for segregation in the public schools.
The announcement came unexpectedly, during a signing ceremony for an apparently unrelated policy directive aimed at streamlining the tracking of space traffic and debris. However, it follows months in which Trump has repeatedly floated the idea in public appearances and lengthier discussions within the military and political establishments. An early draft of last year’s military spending bill included provisions for the creation of a “Space Corps” as a new branch of the military.
Whether Trump’s plan will come to fruition remains to be seen. Last year’s proposal in Congress was opposed by Secretary of Defense James Mattis and by the Air Force on the ground that it created needless…