Trump announces plans for Pentagon to create U.S. ‘Space Force’

President Donald Trump appears leaving the G7 Summit in Canada on Saturday

"We must have American dominance in space", Trump said before a meeting of his National Space Council. "We must have American dominance in space", the President said.

President Trump on Monday said he was directing the Pentagon to create "Space Force" as an independent branch of the U.S. military to ensure the safety of USA spacecraft and astronauts as traffic in the cosmos increases. Presumably, this would replace the Air Force Space Command, which now oversees military satellites, space communications, and more. "We expect space to be a contested domain", Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said in a Senate hearing last June. The announcement came at a meeting with the National Space Council in the East Room of the White House.

"Space is a war fighting domain, so it is vital that our military maintains its dominance and competitive advantage in that domain", one unnamed U.S. defense official told CNN. "We need to anticipate that any future conflict will involve conflict in space".

The order signed today doesn't include any specifics on how the Space Force would operate.

But the treaty has no enforcement mechanism (indeed, the Air Force's unmanned space plane, the X-37B, has completed several clandestine missions).

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Trump declared that America was "first in flight, first to the Moon", and "will always be first in space".

Joining Trump were Vice President Mike Pence (who heads up the recently revived space council), NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine, former astronaut Buzz Aldrin and members of his space council. "I can imagine the only Space Force being Trump's fanfic Guardians of the Galaxy".

In February, the Administration floated the idea of converting the International Space Station into a semi-private facility and zeroing out NASA funding for the station by 2025.

Aside from military objectives, the new space force would also spearhead new USA -led efforts to return to the moon and eventually launch a new exploratory mission to Mars.

According to the Washington Post, the US previously signed the Outer Space Treaty in 1967, barring military bases on the moon and weapons of mass destruction in orbit around the Earth.

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NASA has been unable to send astronauts to space since the shuttle program ended in 2011, and relies on Russian Soyuz spaceships in the meantime.

President George W. Bush in 2004 said humans would return to the moon by 2020. "And we are seriously thinking of the Space Force".

"Rich guys seem to like rockets", Trump said.

Trump is also expected to sign a new space policy directive on Monday that will call for a reduction in satellite clutter to create a safe and secure environment in orbit.

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