Trump directs creation of 'space force' as sixth branch of military

President Donald Trump shows off a

U.S. President Donald Trump has instructed the Pentagon to establish a "space force" as the sixth branch of the American military.

"This is a giant step toward inspiring future generations and toward reclaiming America's proud destiny in space", Trump said in a statement announcing the pal, which he had talked about before.

The military deemed space a critical war-fighting domain, creating the Colorado-based Air Force Space Command in 1982.

For the President, the establishment of the Space Force is of a piece with a strategy to create a lasting American presence on the Moon - and eventually Mars.

But there are a few hurdles Trump's plan must jump before the USA has weaponised spacecraft flying around the place.

There's general consensus among lawmakers that it's time to grant special attention to military space issues - but not how it should be done. You probably haven't even heard that. He had previously posited the idea of forming a space agency that would incorporate "portions equivalent to parts of the Air Force, Army and Navy", NBC reports, but said in his announcement the new service will complement, not infringe upon, the Air Force's existing role.

Space...the final frontier...dominated by the United States Space Force. He reiterated that he does not want "China and Russian Federation and other countries leading us".

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If formed, the new Space Force would be separate but equal to the Air Force.

The White House billed the effort as part of the president agenda to restore USA leadership in space. On Monday, Mr. Trump said the new Space Force branch would be independent of the air and sea services, noting the new space branch would be "separate but equal" with the other services.

Trump said he didn't want "China and Russian Federation and other countries leading us".

Trump also addressed the mission to Mars which he is happy to leave it to people such as Elon Musk. "Too many missions at stake", U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, a Democrat, said on Twitter.

The US president also signed Space Policy Directive - 3 which focuses on satellite traffic management and mitigating debris in space. These directives were expected, but nobody saw it coming for POTUS to promise the Space Force.

It's not the first time the idea has been entertained by the government, but there are critics who say this new branch might come up against the Air Force.

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