During his visit to San Diego, President Donald Trump gave a speech at the Marines Corps Air Station Miramar where he floated the idea of creating a space-based branch of the military called the Space Force. He called space just another domain of war just like land, sea, and air.
This isn't the first time that the idea has been floated around by a member of the government.
Trump said during the speech that the idea of the Space Force started out as a joke while he was discussing government spending and private investments in space. He added that the more he thought about the idea, the better it seemed to him.
He praised former astronauts that were members of the armed forces. Trump is taking credit for the idea of creating a military branch devoted to fighting in space. A previous proposal, passed by the House of Representatives in 2017, called for splitting the Air Force into two separate branches.
Military officers at the Pentagon have warned that the creation of a space branch for the military may not be as beneficial as Trump thinks. They've argued that such restructuring of the armed forces would do more harm than good. Officers have said that it would be unnecessary and expensive.
Intelligence and military officials are warning that China and Russia want to gain the upper hand over the U.S. in space.
In its version of last year's National Defense Authorization Act, the House passed its version of the bill that included a proposal for the new Space Corps. Creation of the new Space Corps was supported by the House Armed Services Committee.
Space Corps would have been like the Marine Corps — a separate branch — but it is kept within the Navy. Leaders in the Pentagon argued against the idea by saying that it needed further brainstorming. Secretary of Defense James Mattis came out against the idea by writing a letter to support an amendment to remove Space Corps from the spending bill.
This cleared the way to change how the Air Force treats its space programs. This includes creating a single organization in the Air Force that is responsible for space forces. Members of Congress wanted the Air Force to treat space as a priority in national defense. They argued that it was spending more time concentrating on fighter jets and bombers.