President Trump directed the Department of Defense to begin plans to form a U.S. Space Force. The idea of forming a sixth military branch shocked some, but it’s not a new idea. Here’s how we got here.
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WASHINGTON – The Space Force has an official launch date.
Speaking at Tuesday’s meeting of the National Space Council, Vice President Mike Pence and Pentagon officials announced that the newest branch of the military would be established Aug. 29.
The Space Force is being created out of what’s now the U.S. Space Command, a division of the Air Force. Air Force general John Raymond has been tapped and confirmed by the Senate as its first leader.
“The United States Space Force will ensure that our nation is prepared to defend our people, defend our interests, and to defend our values in the vast expanse of space and here on Earth with the technologies that will support our common defense for the vast reaches of outer space,” Pence said.
The Trump administration has cited potential threats from China and Russia as part of the reasoning behind creating a space force. Last month, France announced the creation of its own space force as well.
For years, Pentagon officials scoffed at the idea. The Air Force, which operates the Space Command, said creating a new branch would be costly and disruptive.
But the concept has gradually won converts over the years, including from President Donald Trump who signed a directive in February creating the Space Force.
During a signing ceremony in the Oval Office, Trump said he views the new military branch as part of his responsibility to protect the nation.
“I was put here for security, whether it’s Space Force, which I’m doing today, or whether it’s borders,” the president said.
Eventually, an undersecretary of defense for space will be named, and the program – which would start as a division of the U.S. Air Force – would become the sixth armed service, joining the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard.
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