President Donald Trump is pushing once again for military to be deployed to space.
The president floated the idea of his so-called Space Force in a speech to the West Point football team at a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden on Tuesday. He was presenting the Commander-in Chief’s Trophy to the members of the Army’s team for beating the Navy last December.
“You will be part of the five proud branches of the United States armed forces: Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and the Coast Guard,” Trump said.
“And we’re actually thinking of a sixth, and that would be the Space Force. Does that make sense? Because we’re getting very big in space, both militarily and for other reasons. And we are seriously thinking of the Space Force,” he said.
Trump previously introduced the idea of creating a sixth branch dedicated to fighting in space in front of a crowd of Marines at Miramar Air Station in San Diego. He said he first thought the idea of a space force was a joke but then thought it was a good idea.
“You know, I was saying it the other day — because we’re doing a tremendous amount of work in space — 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. That could happen,'”Trump said.
The Space Force idea sparked mixed reaction from lawmakers. A plan to create a “Space Corps,” which would have been a separate branch under the purview of the Air Force, was scrapped from the $700 billion defense bill last November. In an unusual move, Secretary of Defense James Mattis wrote a letter opposing the inclusion of the Space Corps idea.
Republican Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama, who introduced the idea, told CNN after Trump’s speech Tuesday he was thrilled that the idea was being taken more seriously at the executive level.
"I am thrilled that the Space Corps idea is gaining traction at the White House,” Rogers said in a statement. “Congressman Jim Cooper (D-TN) and I have worked tirelessly on the House Armed Services Committee Strategic Forces subcommittee level on the need for a Space Corps outside of the Air Force for over two years now.”
Cover image: US President Donald Trump waves after speaking during a presentation of the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy to the US Military Academy football team in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, May 1, 2018. (Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)