He said some people may argue that a space force would "compromise the sanctity of considering space to be off limits from warfare". He then suggested the U.S. might have to start a "Space Force", which was met with chuckles from the audience. "We have the army, the navy ..." "We have the air force".
"You know, I was saying it the other day cause we're doing a tremendous amount of work in space", Trump said.
Trump continued by noting that the concept of a space force was one he both thought up and had previously dismissed.
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Republican congressman Mike Rogers, who proposed the idea, argued that the Air Force was prioritising its fighter jets over space, and a dedicated service was needed to stay ahead of China and Russian Federation in what was described as the next frontier of warfare. "And I was not really serious, and then I said what a great idea, maybe we'll have to do that".
Initially, Trump explained, he'd proposed the idea as a joke. We are going to lead the way in space.
According to Gizmodo, despite Trump taking full credit for the suggestion, military leaders past year said space is the next war frontier (as they were requesting funding).
The President's remarks come after a Republican plan to create a "Space Corps" as part of the Air Force was dropped from the National Defence Authorisation Act in November. It's unclear if Trump's Space Force would be any similar to what the Space Crops was meant to be.