'Space Force': Trump announces new branch of US military

In this frame from NASA TV NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold left and NASA astronaut Drew Feustel work on shuffling around a couple of space station pumps at the International Space Station on Wednesday

In speaking to the National Space Council Monday morning, President Trump directed the Pentagon and the Department of Defense to create a military "Space Force".

The head of NASA said the agency strongly supports Trump's position "forging a sustainable and focused space policy that strengthens American leadership".

US President Donald Trump announced on Monday the creation of a "Space Force" to stop China from gaining dominance, was well as other space initiatives. "Separate but equal. It is going to be something so equal". That legal rationale was deemed unconstitutional through a series of Supreme Court decisions, ending with 1954's Brown v. Board of Education. "We may even have a Space Force", he told the audience.

Secondly, the move may face some push-back from the Air Force, which now handles much of America's defensive capabilities pertaining to space.

Trump previously endorsed the creation of a Space Force in May during a speech with military personnel in San Diego, according to The Hill.

He also vowed to return the United States to the Moon and to reach Mars.

Trump envisioned a bright future for the United States space program, pledging to revive the country's flagging efforts, return to the moon and eventually send a manned mission that would reach Mars. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford responded "we got it" to Trump when he made the announcement Monday morning.

In May, following an offhand comment by Trump about the possible creation of a Space Force, Sean O'Keefe, NASA administrator and Navy secretary under President George W. Bush, said Trump's own defense secretary and Air Force secretary argued vociferously against it when members of Congress pushed it a year ago.

The third meeting of the National Space Council was held at the White House and opened with the president's remarks and his recognition of dignitaries in the audience, including Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey and U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt.

The White House has noted that the commercialization of space is demanding new measures while "space becomes increasingly contested", in order to ensure that the U.S. Department of Defense be able to secure Washington's interests. "And I was not really serious, and then I said what a great idea, maybe we'll have to do that".

President George W. Bush in 2004 said humans would return to the moon by 2020.

The president said the major goal of the new program is to eventually send astronauts to Mars.

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