U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday said he was ordering the creation of a sixth branch of the military to focus on space, a move critics said could harm the Air Force. As usual, social media is on fire right now and many are pointing to the Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain Marvel to come save the day and assert the American space dominance that Trump wants so bad.
"Our destiny beyond the Earth is not only a matter of national identity but a matter of national security", Trump said, according to CNBC.
The president made the announcement at the same time he revealed the creation of what he called the Space Force, a new branch of the military whose creation will be overseen by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford.
The Air Force has argued that space defense is well within its purview, and that a new branch not only isn't necessary, but could dilute current efforts to extend American military might into space. As the space race heated up 50 years ago, the US, USSR, UK, and more than 100 other countries ratified the Outer Space Treaty. Lawmakers are already speaking up to point out the president can not unilaterally create a new branch of the military.
Whatever the case, Trump means for the "space force" to become the sixth branch of the military. "We must have American dominance in space", Trump said, via NBC News. It's part of his policy "to embrace the budding commercial space industry", Trump said.
U.S. Space Command, under the U.S. Air Force branch, has been in control of military space operations. In a letter last summer to Republican Rep. Mike Turner of OH, who spearheaded the congressional effort against a separate space force, Mattis said he was opposed to the idea. "They will work together with American industry to implement a state-of-the-art framework for space traffic management - but don't let [the regulations] get too out of control, please".
The National Defense Authorization Act of 1947 created the Air Force.
The establishment of an independent space force was mentioned by Trump in a March speech to service members in California, but it has faced opposition since it could create an expensive new headquarters bureaucracy and trigger complex and divisive battles between the agencies that now control part of the space mission.
The president also reasserted plans to land astronauts on the moon again and, eventually, Mars.
Dubbed a "space traffic management policy", the new directive is created to handle the growing amount of debris in orbit around the Earth.