Photo: Andrew Harnik (AP)
In a speech to military personnel in San Diego bookended by digs at former political opponent Hillary Clinton and the media, President Trump proposed a new branch of the armed forces, which he offhandedly named the "space force."
"My new national strategy for space recognises that space is a war-fighting domain, just like the land, air and sea," said Trump. "We may even have a 'space force' — develop another one — space force. We have the Air Force. We'll have the space force. We have the Army, the Navy."
Omitted from Trump's list of armed forces branches were the Coast Guard and (presumably comprising a large part of the crowd at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar) the Marines.
Trump continued by noting that the concept of a space force was one he both thought up and had previously dismissed. "I said 'maybe we need a new force. We'll call it the space force.' Not really serious," he told the crowd to mixed laughter, "And then I said 'What a great idea. Maybe we'll have to do that.' That could happen."
Recalling Cold War fever dreams, military top brass like Vice Admiral Charles A. Richard and Air Force Chief of Staff General David Goldfein have recently predicted that space will become an emerging battlefield. Coincidentally, the reemerging threat of space war came around the time the Air Force also asked for more money. Trump appears to have been bought into this dubious threat and, as he often does, is taking credit for the idea.
To date, no wars have been fought in space.