Trump directs creation of 'space force' as sixth branch of milit - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Trump directs creation of 'space force' as sixth branch of military

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ABC NEWS -

President Donald Trump announced Monday that he has ordered the creation of a new military branch, adding the "Space Force" to the Army, Navy, Marine, Air Force, and Coast Guard.

"It is not enough to merely have an American presence in space, we must have American dominance in space. Very importantly I'm hereby directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a space force as the sixth branch of the armed forces, that is a big statement," Trump said at a meeting of the National Space Council on Monday. "We are going to have the Air Force and we are going to have the space force, separate but equal, it is going to be something."

The Air Force declined to immediately comment.

Trump has previously said that he included a Space Force as part of his national space strategy but also said in March that he not really serious about the idea.

Military officials, including Defense Secretary James Mattis, have pushed back on the idea the military should have a separate space force.

The Space Corps – as it's been called – was in the House's version of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act but later dropped in conference.

In a letter last summer to Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, who spearheaded the congressional effort against the Space Corps, Secretary of Defense James Mattis said he was opposed to the idea.

"At a time when we are trying to integrate the department's joint warfighting functions, I do not wish to add a separate service that would likely present a narrower and even parochial approach to space operations," Mattis wrote.

Testifying in March before the House Armed Services Committee, the former deputy assistant secretary of defense for space policy also pushed back on the creation of a separate Space Corps.

"Space is a different kind of domain than air," Doug Loverro told members of Congress during a hearing on space warfighting readiness. "We don't need to move it out of the Air Force in order to go ahead and create the space-smart civilian and military force that we need."

ABC News' Elizabeth McLaughlin contributed to this report.

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