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Trump said he's asking the Pentagon to create a sixth branch of the military — for space

President Trump described the new "Space Force" as "separate but equal."

by Alex Thompson
Jun 18 2018, 6:20pm

President Donald Trump apparently wants a role in the next star wars.

In a surprise announcement on Monday, Trump said he would direct the Defense Department to begin creating a sixth branch of the armed forces: the “Space Force.”

“In defending America, it is not enough to merely have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space,” Trump said in a National Space Council meeting. He also described the plan with some strange language, reminiscent of segregation. "We are going to have the Air Force and we are going to have the Space Force — separate but equal," Trump added.

Don’t expect to see an astronaut G.I. Joe anytime soon though. Congress hasn’t appropriated any money for the creation of the “Space Force,” and the idea will likely attract a lot of bureaucratic foot-dragging over concerns about militarizing space which has, so far, stayed an area of international cooperation.

When the House Armed Services Committee prepared legislation in June of 2017 that could have created a “Space Corps” within the U.S. Air Force, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis shot down the idea.

“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,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis wrote in a letter to the Republican and Democratic heads of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees.

But Trump seems enamored with the idea despite his Pentagon’s opposition.

In March in a speech in San Diego, Trump also discussed the Space Force. “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,’ Trump told the crowd.

“And I was not really serious, and then I said what a great idea, maybe we’ll have to do that. That could happen. That could be the big breaking story.”

Cover image: President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting of the National Space Council in the East Room of the White House in Washington, on Monday, June 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)