Published: Tue, June 19, 2018
Sci-tech | By April Francis

"Space Force" ordered by President Trump

What the space force actually means is anyone's guess, but Trump described the space branch of the military as "separate but equal" to the Air Force.

However, in addition to signing the new directive, Trump also discussed another pet project.

Trump tells military members at Miramar Air Station in San Diego, California that space is a war-fighting domain.

A spokesperson for the Department of Defense did respond to questions saying: "We understand the president's guidance. Separate but equal, it is going to be something, so important", Trump said. "Too many missions at stake", U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, a Democrat, said on Twitter.

However, because the treaty does not specify conventional weapons, countries such as the U.S., China and Russian Federation are looking into ways to expand defenses to space - such as anti-satellite missiles, etc. So important. General Dunford [Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff], if you would carry that assignment out, I would be very greatly honored, also.

This is not the first time that Trump has floated the idea of establishing a "space force". Among them is a provision that requires the deputy secretary of Defense to study the possibility of creating a space corps in the future.

Fortune contacted the Department of Defense for comment but has not heard back.

The review of how the Pentagon's space enterprise is organized was to include an evaluation of last year's House proposal of Space Corps as a military branch, according to the 21-page memorandum signed by Shanahan and dated March 1.

The policy, which has resulted in almost 2,000 minors being separated from their families over six weeks, has drawn sharp criticism from Democrats and even a number of influential Republicans, including former first lady Laura Bush, who called the policy "cruel" and "immoral" in an opinion piece in the Washington Post.

Of course, no collection of memes about the new Space Force would be complete without Captain Picard. It appeared to be something of a joke, but then he later added, "I don't know". But the directive seemed to take defence officials by surprise.

The president appeared to be confused about United Launch Alliance, which was formed in 2005 and builds the Atlas and Delta rockets used for military and commercial launches.

Any new military branch would have to be approved and funded by Congress, some experts said.

"Our destiny beyond the Earth is not only a matter of national identity, but a matter of national security", Trump said at a White House event attended by former astronaut Buzz Aldrin as well as executives of major aerospace companies. Chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said in a statement that the military will work with Congress and other stakeholders to move forward with the policy.

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