The battle for military supremacy in space is beginning to heat up, with Donald Trump confirming in a recent speech that there’s “gonna be a lot of things happening in space.” That's his way of announcing the creation of a new US military service called the Space Force, which will protect the nation’s assets in orbit.
The new force was officially launched on Friday (December 20) when the president approved and signed the annual military budget. Of the $738 billion allocated for military spending over the coming year, some $40 million will be used to get the Space Force off the ground.
Despite its exhilarating name, the Space Force will not be operated by an army of space cadets, but will consist of remote, unmanned technologies that will defend American satellites and other systems in orbit.
Speaking at an army base near Washington, Trump described space as “the world’s newest war-fighting domain,” alluding to recent claims made by Vice President Mike Pence that both China and Russia have developed airborne weapons that can destroy or disable US satellites.
Operated by the US Air Force, the Space Force will be led by Air Force General Jay Raymond, and could include some 16,000 personnel.
Futuristic as it may seem, the idea behind the endeavor is nothing new. In 2001, Congress launched the Space Commission to produce a report into the possibilities for future US activities beyond Earth’s atmosphere. The final report recommended the establishment of an independent military force in space in order to ensure the country’s continued superiority over rivals like China.
“The Space Force will help us deter aggression and control the ultimate high ground,” explained Trump, although as NPR reports, some of the force’s first tasks will be to come up with a logo, a uniform, and an official song.