Trump orders new Space Force: ‘We must have dominance in space’

President Donald Trump holds up an executive order that he signed during a meeting of the National Space Council at the East Room of the White House June 18, 2018 in Washington, DC. President Trump signed an executive order to establish the Space Force, an independent and co-equal military branch, as the sixth branch of the U.S. armed forces.
President Donald Trump holds up an executive order that he signed during a meeting of the National Space Council at the East Room of the White House June 18, 2018 in Washington, DC. President Trump signed an executive order to establish the Space Force, an independent and co-equal military branch, as the sixth branch of the U.S. armed forces.

Credit: Alex Wong

Credit: Alex Wong

President Donald Trump announced the formation of the Space Force, a new branch of the military, during a meeting Monday of his National Space Council at the White House.

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Trump said getting ahead in space is integral to the nation’s national security.

“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,” Trump said during a speech at the meeting.

"I'm hereby directing the Department of Defense and 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 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. So important," he said.

Trump has previously mentioned his intention to create a Space Force.

The president also signed an initiative called "Space Policy Directive -3, National Space Traffic Management Policy." Among other issues, the document addresses the unfolding crisis and growing danger of space junk circling the planet.

National Space Council executive secretary Scott Pace said the policy addresses "the challenges of a congested space environment," CNN reported.

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“If we’re going to expand the economy in space, we need to make sure it’s done in a sustainable way,” Pace said.

The policy will also help private space interests in "more rapid and more accurate information on where they can launch" as well as "flexibility in launch windows," Pace said, according to CNN.