President Trump announces Space Force, America's military presence in space

Directive signed

President Donald Trump shows off his signature on Space Policy Directive 3

President Donald Trump announced Monday that he is directing the Department of Defense to create a new "space force" to become the sixth branch of the US military.

He was joined by Mike Pence, the new Nasa administrator Jim Bridenstine and former astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon. "Our destiny beyond the Earth is not only a matter of national identity but a matter of national security".

President Donald Trump is expected to sign the new space policy directive Monday, as the National Space Council convenes.

The Air Force has argued that space defense is well within its purview, and that a new branch not only isn't necessary, but could dilute current efforts to extend American military might into space.

The new policy aims to clear the way for increased commercial, civil and national security activities in outer space, said Scott N. Pace, executive secretary of the National Space Council.

Trump has previously hinted at interest in a Space Force several times before, including last month when he awarded the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy to the U.S. Army West Point Black Knights football team for their victory against Navy.

Creating a Space Force and promoting space exploration by NASA and the private sector will be "important for the nation's psyche", he said.

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"It is going to be something", Trump said. He also vowed to return the United States to the moon soon, and to reach Mars.

Space Policy Directive - 3 is primarily focused on satellite traffic management and mitigating debris in space. The Air Force today oversees about 90 percent of the military's space funding, programs and personnel.

For most, however, the idea of establishing a Space Force served as the ideal opportunity to post memes associated with science fiction films and TV shows, from Star Wars and Star Trek to Avatar and Starship Troopers. The committee feels strongly that the USA military has to be better prepared and equipped to dominate in space, Thornberry said. "What we hope to do is have a more user-friendly approach...we hope to see people get more rapid information on when they can launch, more flexibility on their launch windows going up, [and to] see satellites having to maneuver less often because of potential collision risk".

The establishment of an independent space force was mentioned by Trump in a March speech to service members in California, but it has faced opposition since it could create an expensive new headquarters bureaucracy and trigger complex and divisive battles between the agencies that now control part of the space mission. "Too many important issues at stake".

For now, questions exist as to whether the president has the authority to create an additional military branch.

The Pentagon and NASA track more than 500,000 pieces of space junk circling the Earth, including about 1,730 operating satellites. The reason we go to the moon is we want to land Americans on the surface of Mars. However, many opposed the plan and it didn't make it into the final version of the bill.

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