Trump cites Chinese threat in touting Space Force plans

Trump cites Chinese threat in touting Space Force plans

President TrumpDonald John TrumpAustralia recognizes West Jerusalem as Israeli capital, won't move embassy Mulvaney will stay on as White House budget chief Trump touts ruling against ObamaCare: ‘Mitch and Nancy’ should pass new health-care law MORE on Monday argued a new branch of the military dedicated to space is needed to fight adversaries such as China.

“China even launched a new military division to oversee its war-fighting programs in space,” Trump said during a speech at Fort Drum, N.Y., which marked the signing of the annual defense policy bill.

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“Just like the air, the land, the sea, space has become a war-fighting domain. It is not enough to merely have an American presence in space, we must have American dominance in space,” he continued, echoing a line he first used when he announced he was ordering the creation of a Space Force in June. 

Trump’s comments come after Vice President Pence last week outlined in a speech at the Pentagon the steps the administration is taking to stand up a Space Force. 

Congress must approve the creation of a new branch of the military, but the Trump administration is taking what steps it can without Congress.

Immediate moves the Pentagon will make include creating a U.S. Space Command combatant command, a Space Development Agency to help develop and acquire new capabilities, and a Space Operations Force to recruit, train and retain personnel such as engineers, scientists and intelligence experts.

Those who support creating a new branch of the military often point to China's and Russia’s tests of anti-satellite missiles and moves to create their own space forces as evidence of the need for the new service.

Trump echoed those arguments Monday, saying adversaries are weaponizing space.

“Our foreign competitors and adversaries have already begun weaponizing space, developing new technologies to disrupt vital communications, blind satellites and threatening — just, you look at what they’re doing, they’ve given me rundowns, I’ve seen things that you don’t even want to see what they’re doing and how advanced they are,” he said.

“They want to jam transmissions, which threaten battlefield operations and so many other things. We will be so far ahead of them in a very short period of time your head will spin." 

Trump did not mention Monday the need for Congress to create a new branch of the military, instead appearing to tell Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford to get it done.

“Got to get it, Joe,” Trump said, as the military crowd cheered the mention of Space Force. “Right, Joe? Right?”