Should the US Have a Military Presence in Space?

Live Science | 6/20/2018 | Staff
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President Donald Trump's call this week that to create a sixth branch of the U.S. military — which he called the "Space Force" — has reopened a wider debate about whether such a move is necessary to better manage military space activities. While the idea of a separate, space-focused military branch is not new, Trump's surprise announcement caused a buzz on social media and news outlets.

"When it comes to defending America, it is not enough to merely have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space," Trump said in a speech before a meeting of the National Space Council at the White House Monday (June 18). "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.

Trump - Remarks - Decades - Discussion - Space

Trump's remarks follow decades of discussion on a separate space branch, including a recent 2017 attempt to create a new U.S. Space Corps. At the time, the U.S. House Armed Services Committee drafted legislation for the new corps in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act. While the U.S. secretary of the Air Force was supposed to oversee this new branch, the U.S. Space Corps would have had its own seat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Senior military officials did not universally approve the proposal, and it was ultimately withdrawn.

But some space experts say Trump's announcement may at least spur more discussion about how to best manage space activities.

President - Donald - Trump - Space - Force

President Donald Trump wants a new Space Force branch of the U.S. military, but it reopens an old argument about military uses in space. Here, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly over NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida with retired NASA astronaut and Air Force Col. Buzz Aldrin.

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