The U.S. military may add another branch, this one devoted to defending the ultimate high ground, President Donald Trump said today (March 13).
"My new national strategy for space recognizes that space is a war-fighting domain, just like the land, air and sea," the president said during a speech to service members today in San Diego. "We may even have a Space Force."
Trump said he was musing "the other day" about the possibility of adding a Space Force to the military, which currently consists of five branches: the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. [The Most Dangerous Space Weapons Concepts]
"I said, 'Maybe we need a new force. We'll call it the Space Force,'" he said. "And I was not really serious. And then I said, 'What a great idea. Maybe we'll have to do that. That could happen. That could be the big breaking story.'"
As he said this last sentence, Trump pointed at some off-camera folks, presumably members of the news media, and added, "Look at all those people back there. Look at them. Oh, that fake news."
So, it's unclear whether a Space Force will actually happen. But the idea does align with a seemingly intensified focus within the U.S. military on maintaining U.S. dominance in space.
This dominance is increasingly under threat from nations such as China and Russia, and the U.S. needs to act accordingly, top military officials have said recently.
"Just as nuclear assets deter aggression by convincing potential adversaries there's just no benefit to the attack, we have to maintain a space posture that communicates the same strategic message," Navy Vice Adm. Charles A. Richard, deputy commander of U.S. Strategic Command, said last March during a presentation at a Center for Strategic and International Studies conference in Washington, D.C.
"I submit [that] the best way to prevent war is to be prepared for war, and we're going to make sure that everyone knows we're going to be prepared to fight and win wars in all domains, to include space," Richard added.
And Air Force officials recently stressed the need to create a "warrior culture" in space. So, stay tuned!
You can watch Trump's entire speech on White House YouTube channel here. He starts talking about the Space Force at about the 13:15 mark.
Follow Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on Space.com.