President Donald Trump departed the White House on Friday to spend the Christmas holiday at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, but not after first making a stop to address the military troops at Joint Base Andrews in Washington D.C., where he signed the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law.
With the signing of the defense spending bill, President Trump also officially launched the U.S. Space Force, the newest and sixth branch of the U.S. military.
Space Force officially created
Prior to signing the monumental NDAA, President Trump spoke briefly about the $738 billion spending package, which includes a well-deserved pay raise for the troops, authorization for new equipment and weapons, and paid family leave for federal employees, among other things.
“This is a truly historic day for the American Armed Forces. In just a few minutes, I will proudly sign into law the largest-ever investment in the United States military. In fact, I can say: the largest ever, by far,” Trump said. “Today also marks another landmark achievement, as we officially inaugurate the newest branch of our military. This is a very big and important moment. It’s called the Space Force.”
“For the first time since President Harry Truman created the Air Force over 70 years ago — think of that — we will create a brand-new American military service,” the president noted later. “With my signature today, you will witness the birth of the Space Force, and that will be now officially the sixth branch of the United States Armed Forces. That is something really incredible.”
“Because space is the world’s newest warfighting domain. Amid grave threats to our national security, American superiority in space is absolutely vital. And we’re leading, but we’re not leading by enough. But very shortly, we’ll be leading by a lot,” he added. “The Space Force will help us deter aggression and control the ultimate high ground.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 21, 2019
The president pointed out how the U.S. Air Force had been created 50 years after the first manned flight at Kitty Hawk and how the Space Force would be created 50 years after the Apollo 11 mission into space.
The branch will be represented at the Cabinet-level in the White House, placing it on par with the other military branches. The first Chief of Space Operations will be Gen. John Raymond, who currently serves as the top commander of U.S. Space Command within the Air Force, but will now be included in the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The Hill reported that the Space Force, while being considered a separate branch of the military, would still be affiliated with the U.S. Air Force in much the same way that the U.S. Marine Corps is structurally tied-in with the U.S. Navy but still considered a branch of its own.
The Space Force is necessary
While there is certainly room for conservative fiscal hawks to quibble over the exorbitant costs included in the 2020 NDAA, few can dispute the need for the creation of the Space Force, something that has been talked about for years and has been championed by President Trump since 2018.
Space truly is the final frontier and it is a wise and necessary investment by this nation to ensure that it remains not just militarily competitive but dominant over allies, rivals, and enemies when it comes to that vast realm.