President Donald Trump Honors Army Football Team

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Trump Suggests Creation Of 'Space Force' As He Hosts U.S. Army Football Team

May 01, 2018 - 6:17 pm

WASHINGTON (WCBS 880/CBS News) -- Speaking to the U.S. Army West Point Black Knights football team at the White House Rose Garden Tuesday, President Donald Trump brought up the idea of creating another branch of service.

“We’re actually thinking of a sixth, and that would be the Space Force,” Trump said. “Does that make sense?”

Trump said the idea stems from the fact that, “We’re getting very big in space both militarily and for other reasons.”

It was not the first time Trump has brought up the idea. He previously suggested such a branch in an offhand comment during an event at a San Diego Marine Corps base in March. 

Some have said the idea sounds like a cartoon. CBS News Military Analyst and Retired Maj. Mike Lyons said there is already a section of the Air Force that is responsible for space.

“But he’s talking about, I think, putting satellites up there and possibly weaponizing; militarizing some of those things so they have the ability to attack or defend, similar to the Star Wars plan that Ronald Reagan talked about back in the ’80s,” Lyons said. “I think he’s a little bit ahead of his time, but it’s likely as the technology develops, it’s possible we could have something like that up in space.”

We have a section of the Air Force that does control space with missiles and intercontinental ballistic-type operations that are there.

Currently, missile defense forces are all ground-based, and to bring such defense forces into space would require a lot more technology and innovation.

“A lot of things have to go in order for us to have those systems reliable, because right now, our ground-based systems aren’t that reliable for intercontinental ballistic missile systems that could hit the United States,” Lyons said. “So it looks good in movies, and it looks great when you look at it on paper, but in terms of the reality, we just don’t have any of that kind of capability in space right now.”

There is also concern that adding a branch to the military could mean more bureaucracy.

“I think that’s always an issue, and he’s right about the domains. We recently added cyber as a command, so cyber’s that fifth domain that oversees everything; would oversee space as well. But adding this in particular without, you know, putting men up there and creating more of a bureaucracy, I think, would be problem,” Lyons said. “Right now, the Air Force, you know, owns the atmosphere and everything above it, so I do believe the Air Force would think it’s their mission anyway, so creating a Space Force, you know, really wouldn’t anything new.”