President Trump signed the Space Policy Directive 4 on Tuesday to try and get his Space Force off the ground flying. The measure would create the Space Force as an armed service within the Air Force, a slightly different approach than his original plan. When Trump first announced the creation of the force last June, he said the space program would be "separate but equal" from the Air Force. Tuesday's directive would place the Space Force under the umbrella of the Air Force, but turning it into the 6th branch of the armed services is still Trump's long-term goal.
"America must be fully equipped to defend our vital interests," Trump said in the Oval Office on Tuesday shortly after the signing ceremony. "Our adversaries are training forces and developing technology to undermine our security in space."
Vice President Mike Pence, who's been a leading figure on the space program, couldn't agree more. The administration is adamant that America display its dominance in space.
Today, @POTUS signed Space Policy Directive 4 – bringing our nation 1 step closer to establishing the US Space Force. @POTUS Trump’s highest priority is the safety & security of the American people. Space is a warfighting domain just like the air, land, & sea. America must lead. pic.twitter.com/1aTNzzu1Mf— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) February 19, 2019
Fox News anchor Kevin Corke explained what the early Space Force will look like by comparing it to another branch of the military.
#NEW @realDonaldTrump will sign a policy directive to establish the #SpaceForce at 2pm today, which would place the new #SpaceForce under Air Force. This means the #SpaceForce would be to the #AirForce what the #Marines are to the #Navy.— Kevin Corke (@kevincorke) February 19, 2019
But it's not ready for liftoff just yet. The directive requires the approval of Congress. Pence has indicated the administration wants to see the official Space Force established by 2020.
If all goes to plan, the Space Force will be the first new branch of the military since the Air Force was founded in 1947.