President Trump directed the Pentagon to establish a six branch of the armed forces, the Space Force. Speaking at a national Space Council meeting, Trump stressed the importance of “America dominance in space.”
“The essence of the American character is to explore new horizons and to tame new frontiers,” Trump said in his opening remarks. “But our destiny beyond the Earth is not only a matter of national identity, but a matter of national security so important for our military.”
Trump also signed a new U.S policy for space traffic control. The document calls for new protocols for monitoring objects in low-Earth orbit. There are reportedly tens of thousands of pieces of space junk and debris that pose a risk to future spacecraft. The new policy hopes to avoid costly collisions.
The implement of the space force follows the administration’s initial space policy directive calling for NASA to focus on returning humans to the moon. The end goal is a mission to Mars.
The president also gave credit to Vice President Mike Pence, the National Space Council’s chairman, for re-focusing national space policy, saying “for too many years, our dreams of exploration and discovery were really squandered by politics and bureaucracy. And we knocked that out.”
Not everyone is over the moon regarding the construction of new branch of the military. Defense Secretary James Mattis has voiced opposition over the creation of a separate branch of the military.
“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 in a letter to Congress.
The space force mission won’t exactly be to explore strange new worlds, or to seek out new life and civilizations. It would be the U.S military’s line of defense for securing satellite-based communication, weapons commands. Protecting those space-based comes from the fear of other countries, China and Russia, development of anti-satellite weapons.