President Donald Trump declared on Monday that he will move to make a new branch of the military focused solely on space.
“I am hereby directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a space force as the sixth branch of the armed forces,” Trump said during a meeting of the National Space Council.
The addition of a service branch would be the first in 71 years. The Air Force is the nation’s youngest branch and was added shortly after World War II.
“Our destiny beyond the Earth is not only a matter of national identity but a matter of national security,” Trump said.
“Our Policy Board will begin working on this issue, which has implications for intelligence operations for the Air Force, Army, Marines and Navy,” Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said in a statement. “Working with Congress, this will be a deliberate process with a great deal of input from multiple stakeholders.”