United States President Donald Trump has suggested the creation of a new branch of the military, the “Space Force.”
While speaking to members of the U.S. military at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, California on Tuesday, the president expressed eagerness to expand the reach of the military all the way into space.
“Space is a war-fighting domain, just like the land, air and sea,” Trump said. “We may even have a Space Force — we have the Air Force, we’ll have the Space Force, you know, the Army, the Navy.”
Trump admitted that he previously thought of the idea in jest but now sees it as a great idea. “I said, maybe we need a new force, I was not really serious, but now I’m thinking that’s a great idea,” he said. We’re making a Space Force. Tremendous.”
According to Trump, service members will be vital to ensure that America “continues to lead its way into the stars,” noting that many astronauts were “soldiers, air men, coast guard men and marines.”
It was not clear if the president was still joking when he finished talking about the so-called Space Force. The White House did not respond to a request to comment on the president’s remarks.
Meanwhile, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson spoke before the House Appropriations Committee and noted that efforts in space would be part of the Air Force’s priorities in the fiscal year 2019 budget.
When asked about the president’s idea of creating a separate military branch for space, Wilson only said she welcomed the president’s leadership on space programs.
The idea of a new and separate command for space has been discussed in Congress before. The House’s version of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act included provisions for what is to be called Space Corps, but these were later dropped and did not make the final bill.