On Monday, President Donald Trump announced a sixth branch of the military called... the "Space Force". The Air Force now houses the US military's space capabilities, and the service has not been too keen on seeing a separate force developed.
President Donald Trump used a term from U.S. segregationist history to describe the relationship between the Air Force and his newest military branch, the Space Force, calling it "separate but equal".
The council's executive secretary, Scott Pace, told reporters before the meeting that space is becoming increasingly congested and current guidelines are inadequate to address the challenge. "We are modernizing out-of-date space regulations ... and today we're taking one more step to unleash the power of American ingenuity". CNN notes that such an idea has "drawn skepticism" from the Pentagon in the past, and the Washington Post says experts have pointed out Trump can't create a new branch of the military without congressional approval. But his directive will task the Defence Department to begin the process of establishing the "Space Force" as the sixth branch of the US armed forces. "And we are seriously thinking of the Space Force", he said.
This "Space Corps" was a notably less ambitious proposal than what Trump seems to be describing. But the issue has been contested, and even Defense Secretary Jim Mattis expressed some early reluctance to creating a new military service citing the expense and broader effort to integrate warfighting. While the real-life Space Force idea is gaining momentum, it's going to be hard to touch the hard work of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Lucasfilm.
The announcements were his administration's latest moves to scale up United States space exploration.
Nelson - who led the opposition in last year's failed attempt to establish in the annual defense policy bill a separate space corps within the Air Force - made a similar statement during a Senate Armed Services hearing in March.
Rather, a Space Force would consolidate command of the military's existing satellite systems into a single command.
However, the announcement isn't the first time the space force has been discussed. "I can imagine the only Space Force being Trump's fanfic Guardians of the Galaxy". The U.S. Air Force was created through the 1947 National Security Act, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Harry Truman. In December 2017, Trump signed Space Policy Directive 1, an initiative to send mankind back to the Moon for the first time since 1972 and eventually to Mars.
The policy sets up new guidelines for satellite design and operation, as well as tracking the growing amount of clutter in space.
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