President TrumpDonald TrumpBaldwin calls Trump criticism following 'Rust' shooting 'surreal' Haley hits the stump in South Carolina Mary Trump files to dismiss Trump's lawsuit over NYT tax story MORE on Tuesday said his administration is “seriously thinking” about creating a new military branch known as the “Space Force.”
“You will be part of the five proud branches of the United States Armed Forces: Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and the Coast Guard. And we’re actually thinking of a sixth, and that would be the Space Force,” Trump said in the White House Rose Garden while presenting the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy to the Army football team.
“Does that make sense?" he asked. "You probably haven’t even heard that. I’m just telling you now because we’re getting very big in space, both militarily and for other reasons. And we are seriously thinking of the Space Force."
Trump in March first pushed for the idea of creating a new military branch that would specialize in fighting and policy in space.
“You know, I was saying it the other day — because we’re doing a tremendous amount of work in space — I said, 'Maybe we need a new force, we’ll call it the Space Force.' And I was not really serious, and then I said, 'What a great idea, maybe we’ll have to do that. That could happen,'” Trump said during a speech at Air Station Miramar in San Diego at the time.
The endorsement was met with mixed reactions from lawmakers.
Rep. Mike RogersMichael (Mike) Dennis RogersBiden administration resists tougher Russia sanctions in Congress Senior-level engagement with Russia is good — if it's realistic It's time to overhaul the antiquated and unbalanced military justice system MORE (R-Ala.), who last year led a failed effort with Rep. Jim CooperJim CooperHouse GOP campaign arm expands target list after brutal night for Dems Arkansas legislature splits Little Rock in move that guarantees GOP seats Cities become pawns in redistricting game MORE (D-Tenn.) to establish a space corps within the Air Force, praised Trump’s comments.
“Looking forward to working with [Trump] on this initiative!” Rogers wrote on Twitter.
But Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonNASA spacewalk delayed due to debris threat This Thanksgiving, skip the political food fights and talk UFOs instead Two trajectories to Mars by the 2030s MORE (D-Fla.) — who last year opposed establishing a space corps — has said he’s not a fan of the proposal.
“I’m not too keen on ripping space out of the Air Force and creating a space corps,” Nelson said in March.
Despite the protests, lawmakers on the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee are moving forward with a push to build up a space war fighting unit, as marked in its portion of the annual defense policy bill.
Though it would not be the separate military branch as floated by Trump, it would create a new numbered unit within the Air Force as well as a sub-unified command that would report to Strategic Command.
Air Force leaders, Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman Mattis The US can't go back to business as usual with Pakistan The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate nears surprise deal on short-term debt ceiling hike Overnight Defense & National Security — Pentagon chiefs to Congress: Don't default MORE and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford have already opposed a similar idea. Last year, they pushed back against a plan to create a separate space corps within the Air Force, warning it would be premature and add burdensome bureaucracy to the service.