After several months of conversation on the subject, President Donald Trump finally announced Monday that he will ask the Pentagon to create a sixth military branch designed to handle space, space-faring activities, and lead any eventual war we might end up fighting with extra-terrestrials.
The new branch of the military, temporarily known as the “Space Force,” will be “focused solely on space,” CNBC reports.
Trump made the announcement Monday morning at a meeting of the National Space Council.
“I am 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,” Trump told the group.
“Our destiny beyond the Earth is not only a matter of national identity but a matter of national security,” he continued.
The Trump Administration has been working towards the “space force” for months. In March, Trump floated the idea that “space is a war-fighting domain, just like the land, air, and sea,” and suggested that he might consider expanding the military to encompass space exploration and, apparently, planetary conquest, though he did say that he coined the term “space force” largely as a joke.
Congress authorized the creation of a “space corps” last year, as part of the National Defense Authorization Act and pursuant to plans for a major Defense Department expansion, but stopped short of founding a sixth military branch.
Traditionally, control over space has been the purview of the United States Air Force, but Trump indicated in March that he believes the Space Force needs to be a different entity, even if that eventually renders the U.S. Air Force obsolete, particularly if space travel (and space war) involves large vessels manned with crews more akin to naval warfare. Trump failed to indicate how the mission of a space force would differ from that of NASA which, until now, has planned and coordinated all manned and unmanned spaceflight.
Those details — and whether the new venture will be called, as expected, Starfleet — will likely be hammered out over the coming months.