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Space Force to be created under Air Force’s wing

Oval Office signing
Vice President Mike Pence makes comments at an Oval Office signing ceremony for Space Policy Directive 4, alongside President Donald Trump and officials including Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan, Air Force Gen. Paul Selva and Susan Gordon, principal deputy director of national intelligence. (White House Photo)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump today signed a space policy directive that lays out further steps in the creation of the U.S. Space Force as a sixth military branch housed within the Department of the Air Force.

The plan wouldn’t involve splitting off Space Force from the Air Force immediately, although it leaves the door open to take that step at a later time. As described in the White House’s Space Policy Directive 4, the arrangement would be similar to the Marine Corps’ status as a military branch within the Department of the Navy.

Such a concept is more likely to meet with approval from the Democratic-led House, which along with the Senate would have to approve the Space Force’s creation.

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., who heads the House Armed Services Committee, told Politico earlier this month that “we can work with” the concept, which some have referred to as a “Space Corps” rather than a Space Force. In contrast, Smith previously voiced his opposition to the idea of creating a Space Force that was independent from the Air Force.

The Space Force would be the first new military branch created since the Air Force was born in 1947. (The others are the Army, the Navy, the Marines and the Coast Guard.)

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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