President Donald Trump will sign the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Friday formally establishing the sixth branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, Space Force after it received bipartisan support in the U.S. Senate . The new branch will operate inside the U.S. Air Force and will defend U.S. national security interests in space.
“I will be signing our 738 Billion Dollar Defense Spending Bill today. It will include 12 weeks Paid Parental Leave, gives our troops a raise, importantly creates the SPACE FORCE, SOUTHERN BORDER WALL FUNDING, repeals “Cadillac Tax” on Health Plans, raises smoking age to 21! BIG!” Trump said on Twitter Friday morning.
The Defense Department has pointed to Russia and China as some of the greatest threats in space viewing it as a new frontier for “modern warfare,” according to the Defense Intelligence Agency’s report on Challenges to Security in Space. The report also notes that the two countries have postured surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities through their own satellites in Earth’s orbit and have missiles that can reach space to counter enemy satellites. Iran and North Korea pose similar threats, according to the report.
Last year, the President directed the Pentagon to add the branch during a meeting with the National Space Council. Gen Joseph Dunford, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, assured him it would be done. On Friday, Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark Esper said he’s “looking forward to POTUS signing it.”