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Trump announces plans for Pentagon to create 'Space Force'

Trump announces plans for Pentagon to create 'Space Force'

He had planned to make this announcement weeks ago, and Pentagon officials had been advised the president would be directing the creation of a Space Force at the June 18 National Space Council meeting. "We'll save a little money and they can beat us and we're taking full credit for it, don't worry about it", Trump said.

President Donald Trump has been talking about creating a Space Force for a while now.

The move, which Mr. Trump tentatively endorsed three months ago despite strong objections from senior civilian and uniformed military leaders, is the culmination of extensive criticism on Capitol Hill of longstanding procurement and strategic lapses affecting the U.S.'s space programs.

The president has spoken on previous occasions about adding another branch, the "space force", to the armed forces. "Because we can not get them to sign legislation, we can not get them even to the negotiating table".

Details of what a new space force would look like and what it would do were not immediately clear.

The current Air Force Space Command is engaged in non-combat space operations that support military action on Earth.

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That's a solid turnaround for him since a CNN poll last November showed 35% approval of Trump's handling of North Korea. The president also said returning a military salute to a North Korean three-star general was being respectful.

Trump up-ended that policy in rambling opening remarks, instructing Marine General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, to create the Space Force.

Trump more broadly envisioned a bright future for the US space program, pledging to revive the country's flagging efforts, return to the moon and eventually send a human mission that would reach Mars.

Mr Trump also signed a directive on the management of traffic and debris in space. Lawmakers are already speaking up to point out the president can not unilaterally create a new branch of the military. The policy, executive secretary of the National Space Council Scott Pace told reporters, "seeks to address the challenges of a congested space environment". "We will establish a long-term presence, expand our economy and build the foundation for an eventual mission to Mars, which is actually going to happen very quickly", he said. Some key Democrats oppose the idea, including Florida Senator Bill Nelson, who said via Twitter, "The president told a U.S. general to create a new Space Force as 6th branch of military today, which generals tell me they don't want".

The president spoke earlier this year of his plans for a "space force" and explained his thinking behind it, saying: "I was saying it the other day because we're doing a tremendous amount of work in space".

Trump - echoed by others later in the meeting - reiterated that the United States is heading back to the moon and emphasized that it will be for the long haul.