President Donald Trump on Monday ordered the US Department of Defense to create the Space Force as the sixth branch of the US Armed Forces.
“I’m hereby directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately inaugurate the process necessary to establish a Space Force as the sixth branch of the armed forces,” Trump stated at the opening of a White House meeting of the National Space Council. “We enjoy the Air Force and we’re going to enjoy the Space Force. Separate but equal.”
The announcement opened a recent chapter in competition to explore space, with the goal of besting nations such as Russia and China, Trump explained.
“America was first in flight, first to the moon and why America will always be first in space,” Trump said. “We don’t want China and Russia and other countries leading us… We’re going to be the leader by far.”
The event featured Trump’s third Space Policy Directive, which also orders the Defense Department to protect US space assets, in portion by managing an increasing crowded low soil orbit.
“The recent directive seeks to reduce the growing threat of orbital debris to the common interest of all nations,” the White House explained in a press release.
The Department of Commerce will build space safety data and services available to the public, while the Defense Department will catalog all space objects, the release noted.
The directive also seeks to streamline regulatory processes that enjoy inhibited commercial efforts to develop space launch and exploration technology, according to the release.