Trump signs directive in move to create a U.S. Space Force

By Mike Stone and Jeff Mason WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump on Tuesday took a step needed for lawmakers to begin the lengthy process of creating a U.S. Space Force, a new branch of the military dedicated to handling threats in space. Trump signed Space Policy Directive 4, which puts in place the foundation for a legislative initiative that could establish a Space Force as a new military service comparable to the U.S.

Reuters February 20, 2019 04:06:09 IST
Trump signs directive in move to create a U.S. Space Force

Trump signs directive in move to create a US Space Force

By Mike Stone and Jeff Mason

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump on Tuesday took a step needed for lawmakers to begin the lengthy process of creating a U.S. Space Force, a new branch of the military dedicated to handling threats in space.

Trump signed Space Policy Directive 4, which puts in place the foundation for a legislative initiative that could establish a Space Force as a new military service comparable to the U.S. Marines.

In an oval office signing ceremony, Trump said the Space Force is a national security priority.

The memo directs the Department of Defence "to marshal its space resources to deter and counter threats in space," through the establishment of Space Force that would be part of the Air Force, according to a draft seen by Reuters.

Establishing the Space Force will require Congressional approval.

In August, the Trump Administration announced an ambitious plan to usher in the force as the sixth branch of the military by 2020.

Space Force would be an armed branch of the military and "include both combat and combat support functions to enable prompt and sustained offensive and defensive space operations," according to the memo.

U.S. Air Force chief General David Goldfein, speaking at Brookings, a Washington think tank, said on Tuesday the establishment of Space Force was still a long way off, including "intricate details of how we move forward in establishing this service within the Department of the Air Force."

Goldfein also said "from a war-fighting perspective the most important step that we take going forward, and the one that we need to do the quickest, is to establish a U.S. Space Command as a combatant commander," a role that would actually command the personnel and materials presented to them by Space Force.

The Air Force is the U.S. military branch that currently has responsibility for space.

Last year, then Deputy Secretary of Defence Patrick Shanahan had focused on internal Pentagon reform and issues like the creation of a Space Force, an initiative that met with resistance from some lawmakers and others in the Pentagon.

Shanahan, now acting Secretary of Defence, had said in 2018 that the proposed Space Force could have an initial budget of less than $5 billion.

On Tuesday, a Pentagon official speaking on condition of anonymity said initial start up costs for the Space Force were estimated to be about $72 million.

A U.S. Air Force cost estimate from earlier last year said Space force would be around $13 billion in the first five years.

(Reporting by Mike Stone and Jeff Mason; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Bill Berkrot)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.