Donald Trump Announces Plan for a “Space Force”

The president wants the military to head to outer space.

Sipa USA/ AP

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It’s long been a priority of the White House to ramp up space travel and, along with it, the military industrial complex needed to combat any threats to the United States’ presence in space. On Monday, President Donald Trump gave a directive to the the Department of Defense and Pentagon to “immediately begin the process necessary to establish a Space Force as a sixth branch of the armed forces.”

The announcement came at a meeting with the National Space Council. Trump had previously toyed with the idea in a March speech, but the president hasn’t offered many details about his vision for astronaut soldiers. What the space force actually means is anyone’s guess, but Trump described the space branch of the military as “separate but equal” to the Air Force. It’s unclear how Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, reacted to the news since he was off camera. 

This framing is much different than what’s being offered up in the most recent House version of the National Defense Authorization Act, which would establish a “Space Corps” that operates as a unit in the Air Force. (The Air Force is already in charge of running classified experiments with unmanned space vehicles.)  Supporters in Congress say that the military expansion is necessary at a time when US satellites are currently vulnerable to attacks from China and Russia. Last October, Defense Secretary James Mattis expressed his disapproval of the House and Senate armed services committees’ proposal to establish a Space Corps.

You can see a full clip of Trump’s speech here:

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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