President Trump on Monday directed the Pentagon to create a sixth branch of the military to exist alongside the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. He calls it the Space Force and it's bound to be out of this world.
“We are going to have the Air Force and we’re going to have the Space Force, separate but equal. It is going to be something, so important,” Trump said Monday at a meeting with the National Space Council.
"Our destiny beyond the earth is not only a matter of national identity, but a matter of national security, so important for our military and people don’t talk about it," he said. "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."
That last phrase is an important one. Trump is prioritizing a Space Force, not just because he wants a U.S. military presence in zero-gravity, but because he doesn't want China and Russia to get there first. Problem is, the U.S. is already lagging behind, Politico explained in April:
Russia and China are years ahead of the United States in developing the means to destroy or disable satellites that the U.S. military depends on for everything from gathering intelligence to guiding precision bombs, missiles and drones.
The site also described just what experts mean when they talk about a Space Force, and it's not Starship Trooper's style of bug fighting you might expect:
When the Pentagon talks about a space war, it doesn’t mean troops in celestial camouflage, maneuvering with jet packs and targeting the enemy with laser guns. The conflict could take many different — and largely silent — forms, ranging from jamming a GPS satellite to temporarily blinding a sensor with a laser or relying on a cyberattack to disrupt services.
Trump's announcement was greeted with some fun tweets.
And also by a bunch of wannabe Han Solos declaring their intention to enlist.
May the force be with them.