UPDATED 8:05 AM PT — Wed. March 14, 2018
During his visit to San Diego, President Trump joked about the formation of a space force, but that doesn’t mean he takes the U.S. military’s growing push for space-based systems lightly.
“You know I was saying it the other day, because we’re doing a tremendous amount of work in space, I said maybe we need a new force, we will call it the Space Force,” said President Trump. “And I was not really serious, then I said what a great idea…maybe we’ll have to do that.”
Rival powers like Russia and China have already formed their own independent military space forces, while U.S. Space Command remains largely under the control of the Air Force.
A bill spinning Space Command off into an arrangement similar to that of the Navy and the Marine Corps passed in the House last year, but was later killed by the Senate.
Still, the Defense Department itself is considering a similar split. A pentagon report submitted to Congress earlier this month floated the idea of Space Command becoming its own combatant command.
The document uses a revamped Space Command as an example of an area where the Defense Department needs to boost the speed of innovation and development in the defense industry, which is something President Trump says he firmly supports.
“For too long the men and women of the United States Armed Forces have been asked to do more with less,” stated President Trump. “You’ve borne the costs of underinvestment and deferred modernization and also deferred maintenance.”
The president is now promising to cement U.S. leadership in exploration of the final frontier exploration he says would not have been possible under a different president.
“You wouldn’t have been going to Mars if my opponent won. That I can tell you, you wouldn’t even be thinking about it.” — President Trump