President Trump Tasks Pentagon to Create Military ‘Space Force’


President Donald Trump
delivers opening remarks as Vice President Mike Pence looks on during a meeting
of the National Space Council in the East Room of the White House, Monday, June
18, 2018, in Washington. Chaired by the Vice President, the council’s role is
to advise the President regarding national space policy and strategy, and
review the nation’s long-range goals for space activities. Photo Credit:
(NASA/Bill Ingalls)
Ken Kremer     SpaceUpClose.com     18 June 2018

CAPE CANAVERAL,
FL –  President Donald Trump tasked the
Pentagon with creating a military ‘Space Force’ as a ‘separate but equal branch’
of the nations armed forces as a means for ensuring American national security
and American dominance in space during remarks at
todays
(June 18) meeting of the recently reconstituted National
Space Council held at the White House.

“We are going to have
the Air Force, and we are going to have the Space Force. Separate but equal. It
is going to be something,” Trump said. “I’m here by directing the Department of
Defense and the 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.”

“We must have American dominance in space.”

Trump made his remarks at the kickoff of the 3rd
meeting of the National Space Council, chaired by Vice President Mike Pence.  

The National Space Council meeting was attended by the new
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine  and top
US Government officials including Gen. Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
Commerce
Secretary Wilbur Ross and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chou among others.

“If you would carry that assignment out, I
would be greatly honored,”
Trump turned around and clearly said to
Dunsford. “Got
it?”



“We
got it,” General Dunsford replied.

Apparently Trumps endorsement of the ‘Space Force’ came as
something of a surprise to the Pentagon and others involved because the mode and
scope of its creation was still being formulated at the highest levels of the
US government.

The Air Force Space Command already exists as a significant
entity within the U.S. Air Force branch of the military structure and the best
means of reorganization was still being studied. 
The creation of a ‘Space Corps’ had been under discussion.


The Pentagon for example did not have a statement ready to
release to elaborate on and explain Trumps ‘Space Force’ directive in further detail. 
Furthermore, the US Congress must give its approval for the
Space Force to come into force as the law of the land as well as to fund the President’s
initiative.  

Space is unquestionably absolutely vital to US national defense
and protecting the homeland from enemy surveillance and attack.  

Thus the U.S. Air Force, Pentagon, NRO, etc, design, manage,
support and maintain a vast complex and massive variety of rockets and
missiles, surveillance satellite, GPS satellites, weather satellites, research
and development laboratories and military bases and more all across America and
in a multitude of orbits.

“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.
So important,” Trump elaborated.  

Some strong space supporters, such as Florida Senator Bill Nelson (D),
who flew on NASA’s Space Shuttle, questioned the need for creating another bureaucracy.

“The president told a US general to create a new Space
Force as 6th branch of military today, which generals tell me they don’t
want,” Nelson tweeted. “Thankfully the president can’t do it without
Congress because now is NOT the time to rip the Air Force apart. Too many important
missions at stake.”



https://twitter.com/SenBillNelson/status/1008772824054620163

At the meeting the President also signed his administration’s
third Space Policy Directive, SPD-3 dealing with managing the increasing number
of satellites in orbit and the tens of thousands of particles of debris in
space orbiting Earth and that are potentially harmful by colliding with satellites
including our military assets and the International Space Station (ISS).



“NASA
strongly supports the White House’s continued bold direction in forging a
sustainable and focused space policy that strengthens American leadership. It
was my honor today to represent the agency at the National Space Council, where
the President announced Space Policy Directive-3 – which will guide critical
and much-needed progress for space traffic management, said 
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine 



“SPD-3
builds on our continued progress implementing SPD-1, which is galvanizing
American space leadership by returning to the Moon with commercial and
international partners, and SPD-2, which will create regulatory certainty for
entrepreneurs to raise capital to grow the American economy in space.”

Trumps ‘space force’ comments today came amidst the swirling controversy
of the immigration debate and family separation at the border which he
specifically addressed in his initial remarks before pivoting to point of today’s
meeting about the US Space program – civilian and military. 

Trump also spoke strongly about reclaiming American leadership
in space and redirecting NASA to return Americans to the Moon’s surface first
and soon, before venturing on to Mars.

“My administration is reclaiming America’s
heritage as the world’s greatest space-faring nation. The essence of the
American character is to explore new horizons and to tame new frontiers,” Trump
explained.

“I revived the National Space Council and put
exactly the right man in charge, and that’s our friend, Mike Pence. He feels
very strongly about this. And in December [2017], I signed a historic directive
that will return Americans to the moon for the first time since 1972, if you
can believe that.”



“We don’t want China and Russia and other
countries leading us. We’ve always led — we’ve gone way far afield for decades
now, having to do with our subject today. We’re going to be the leader by far.”



“This time, we will do more than plant our flag
and leave our footprints. We will establish a long-term presence, expand our
economy, and build the foundation for the eventual mission to Mars — which is
actually going to happen very quickly,” Trump stated.

To that end NASA is developing the SLS heavy lift booster and Orion deep space capsule for journey’s to the Moon and Mars and commercial crew vehicles to ferry our astronauts to LEO and the ISS.


More on that in my next story.



Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA,
Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK and more space and mission reports direct
from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida and
Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia.




Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human
spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com
–www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com

Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

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