Space battles have long been a main ingredient of big-screen blockbusters, but they could soon be a reality if President Trump's comments are anything to go by.
President Donald Trump believes space will be the next battleground, and he wants to see the US prepare for it by developing a military arm specially for the final frontier.
Addressing troops at the Miramar Marine Corps Air Station in San Diego on Tuesday, Trump revealed his intention to add a sixth prong to the US’ military might.
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As well as the defence branches of the army, navy, marine corp (housed within the navy), air force, and coast guard, he wants to see a ‘Space Force’.
“My new national strategy for space recognises that space is a war-fighting domain, just like the land, air and sea,” Trump told the marines.
“We may even have a space force … We have the air force, we’ll have the space force, we’ll have the army, the navy.
“Maybe we’ll have to do that. That could happen.”
Trump’s comments follow on from those issued by US Air Force chief of staff General David Goldfein, who told a symposium in Florida last month that “we’re going to be fighting from space in a matter of years”.
A “space corp” branch of the air force proposed by Rep. Mike Rogers, the Strategic Forces Subcommittee chairman, was scrapped last year, after the White House, Air Force and Secretary of Defense James Mattis all voiced their disapproval for the concept.
“I oppose the creation of a new military service and additional organizational layers at a time when we are focused on reducing overhead and integrating joint warfighting efforts,” Mattis wrote in a letter to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees at the time.
Considering the project has already been debated in Congress without the endorsement of the White House, and with support now flooding in from heavy-hitters like President Trump and Goldfein, the Pentagon could soon be looking to the stars.
The US already spends more than $600 billion a year on defence, more than the next eight countries (including Russia and China) combined.
“It’s not clear how aware Trump might be about the work that had already been ongoing in Congress along these same lines,” Todd Harrison, director of the Aerospace Security Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told CNBC.
“It’s also not clear if he even realized that his own administration or at least a part of his administration had come out against this proposal when it was being debated in Congress last year.
“Given what has happened in Congress last year and the president’s more recent comments, the momentum is building and this will happen sooner rather than later.”
Trump’s address was well-received by Rogers, who said he looks forward to working with the administration “to make this a reality in the near future”.
“I am so proud of President Trump’s support of this important and historic initiative to create an independent space force,” he said.
“At the end of the day, this isn’t about personalities or individuals, it’s about supporting our space warfighters, it’s about making sure those warfighters have the equipment to execute future space operations, and it’s about making sure that we continue to outpace our strategic competitors to preserve our national security.”