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The final frontier: Trump directs Pentagon to establish ‘Space Force’

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 18:  U.S. President Donald Trump holds up an executive order that he signed during a meeting of the National Space Council at the East Room of the White House June 18, 2018 in Washington, DC. President Trump signed an executive order to establish the Space Force, an independent and co-equal military branch, as the sixth branch of the U.S. armed forces.   (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 18: U.S. President Donald Trump holds up an executive order that he signed during a meeting of the National Space Council at the East Room of the White House June 18, 2018 in Washington, DC. President Trump signed an executive order to establish the Space Force, an independent and co-equal military branch, as the sixth branch of the U.S. armed forces. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

On Monday, at a National Space Council meeting, President Trump said he would direct the Pentagon to create a sixth branch of the military – a “space force” which would protect the goals of the U.S. in space.

On Monday, at a National Space Council meeting, President Trump said he would direct the Pentagon to create a sixth branch of the military – a “space force” which would protect the goals of the U.S. in space.

The conversation about establishing a military presence in space has been around since the Cold War. Last year, Congress decided to kick the can down the road on a decision to create a space corps. (They asked for an independent study on the decision, which is due in August.)

Realistically, it would take some time and an act of Congress to establish a new, separate military branch. There has been pushback from some lawmakers who think this would create further bureaucracy at best, and an arms race at worst.

We get the latest on Trump’s announcement. What does it mean, realistically? What previous efforts have there been to establish a U.S. military presence in outer space? And what are the potential benefits and drawbacks?

With guest host Libby Denkmann.  

Guest:

Todd Harrison, director of the Aerospace Security Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank

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