President Donald Trump announced that he has directed the Pentagon to begin building a national "space force" that would be the sixth branch of the United States military. Trump told members of the National Space Council that "we must have American dominance in space."
“I’m hereby directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a space force as the sixth branch of the armed forces. That’s a big statement. We are going to have the Air Force and we are going to have the Space Force, separate but equal.”
Trump argued that the United States needs a dedicated space force to prevent "China and Russia and other countries leading us" in the 21st-century space race. Trump said he wants the United States to return to the moon and eventually send humans to Mars.
The president also signed a new directive that makes it easier for companies to operate in space, and reduces the amount of debris that is currently orbiting the planet. Space Policy Directive-3 “seeks to address the challenges of a congested space environment,” said Scott Pace, Executive Secretary of the National Space Council. The directive instructs the Defense Department to continue to maintain a catalog of all objects in space, which would be released by the Commerce Department, to help companies manage their assets in orbit and ensure there are no collisions or accidents involving satellites or ships launched into space.
Photo: Getty Images