Trump: Administration 'seriously thinking' about adding 'Space Force' to military

Trump: Administration 'seriously thinking' about adding 'Space Force' to military
© Getty Images

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump cites tax cuts over judges as having biggest impact of his presidency Trump cites tax cuts over judges as having biggest impact of his presidency Ocasio-Cortez claps back at Trump after he cites her in tweet rejecting impeachment 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

“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 RogersDem proposal to ban Pentagon funds for border wall survives House panel votes Dem proposal to ban Pentagon funds for border wall survives House panel votes House panel OKs space military branch MORE (R-Ala.), who last year led a failed effort with Rep. Jim CooperJames (Jim) Hayes Shofner CooperHouse panel OKs space military branch House panel OKs space military branch Overnight Defense: Officials approved sending Saudis nuclear technology after Khashoggi killing | Space Command pick warns of challenges ahead | Lawmakers clash over bill blocking low-yield nukes 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 NelsonHow Jim Bridenstine recruited an old enemy to advise NASA Republicans amp up attacks on Tlaib's Holocaust comments The muscle for digital payment 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 MattisTop nuclear official quietly left Pentagon in April Top nuclear official quietly left Pentagon in April Overnight Defense: Pompeo blames Iran for oil tanker attacks | House panel approves 3B defense bill | Trump shares designs for red, white and blue Air Force One 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.