Trump Officially Calls for a "Space Force," a Sixth Branch of the Military

President Donald Trump called once again on Monday for a sixth branch of the military to be formed, one he calls a “space force.”

In a speech at the White House, he said the formation of a military agency would help America “conquer” space, and asked Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for Trump, to “immediately begin the process.”

“When it comes to defending America, it is not enough to merely have an American presence in space, we must have American dominance in space, so important,” Trump said. “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’s a big statement, 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, so important,” the President said. “General Dunford, if you would carry that assignment out, I would be very greatly honored also.”

Then Trump looked around the room, asking, “where’s General Dunford?” before turning around behind the podium, asking him directly, “general, got it?” The general replied, “yeah,” and Trump pumped his fist as he said, “let’s go get it, general.”

“That’s the importance that we give it, we’re going to have the space force,” Trump said again, emphasizing the words.

Trump has brought up the concept of a “space force” a few times as president, usually during campaign-style speeches aimed at space-centric or military audiences. Monday’s remarks are the first official request he’s made publicly. The other five branches of the U.S. military are the Army, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the Air Force, and the Coast Guard.

In March, Trump said his “new national strategy for space recognizes that space is a war-fighting domain, just like the land, air, and sea.”

Here’s Trump talking about a space force back in March:

Trump has also revived the National Space Council, a group within the executive branch formed during the space race. Today, it’s lead by Vice President Mike Pence. When it was formed in 1958, it was tasked with sitting at the intersection of all agencies involved in national space policy to best determine national priorities. At the time, it was chaired by the president himself, Dwight Eisenhower, and included the secretaries of the state and defense, NASA’s administrator, the chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, and four presidential advisors.

If the term “space force” sounds like it came out of the 1980s, it did. There was a cartoon series of the same name and Trump’s remarks syncs up perfectly with it:

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