Mar 14, 2018, 3:12 PM ET

Air Force leaders dodge questions on Trump's 'Space Force'

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Top Air Force leaders sidestepped questions from Congress this morning about the creation of the "Space Force" suggested by President Donald Trump Tuesday.

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Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson opened her testimony before the House Appropriations Committee today by touting the Air Force's efforts in space, a top priority for the service in the fiscal year 2019 budget.

In contrast, Trump suggested removing the space domain out of the Air Force and creating a separate Space Force.

"My new national strategy for space recognizes that space is a war-fighting domain, just like the land, air, and sea. We may even have a Space Force -- develop another one: Space Force," Trump said at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego. “We have the Air Force; we'll have the Space Force. We have the Army, the Navy.

“You know, I was saying it the other day, because we are doing a tremendous amount of work in space. I said maybe we need a new force. We'll call it Space Force. And I was not really serious. Then I said what a great idea. Maybe we'll have to do that. That could happen."

PHOTO: Heather Wilson, Secretary of the U.S. Air Force, testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing concerning firearm accessory regulation and enforcing federal and state reporting to the NICS, Dec. 6, 2017 in Washington.Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Heather Wilson, Secretary of the U.S. Air Force, testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing concerning firearm accessory regulation and enforcing federal and state reporting to the NICS, Dec. 6, 2017 in Washington.

When asked for her reaction to the idea, Wilson would only say she welcomed the president and vice president's leadership on space operations.

Sitting beside the secretary, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said he was "excited by the dialogue."

The idea of a separate space command has long been debated in the military and on Capitol Hill. The Space Corps -- as it's been called -- was in the House's version of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act but later dropped in conference.

Advocates for a Space Corps say a separate command is necessary to keep up with modern adversaries like China and Russia.

But in a letter last summer to Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, who spearheaded the congressional effort against the Space Corps, Secretary of Defense James Mattis said he was opposed to the idea.

"At a time when we are trying to integrate the department's joint warfighting functions, I do not wish to add a separate service that would likely present a narrower and even parochial approach to space operations," Mattis wrote.

Testifying today before the House Armed Services Committee, the former deputy assistant secretary of defense for space policy also pushed back on the creation of a separate Space Corps.

"Space is a different kind of domain than air," Doug Loverro told congressman during a hearing on space warfighting readiness. "We don't need to move it out of the Air Force in order to go ahead and create the space-smart civilian and military force that we need.

“But we need to allow it to grow differently than the way we would grow air officers."

He compared it to how the Navy has different training for a sailor operating submarines versus ships in the surface fleet.

ABC News' Ben Siegel and Luis Martinez contributed to this report.

News - Air Force leaders dodge questions on Trump's 'Space Force'

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  • tigardspaz

    I don't get this. I really don't. What are they supposed to do in space? and how are they supposed to do it? The military doesn't have the ability to launch their own rockets. They can only launch commercial rockets that have been built by private companies.

  • Thomas

    Someone please sit Trump down and read to him, slowly, the Outer Space Treaty of 1967

  • Thomas

    Because creating another department within the DoD will solve problems.

    We already have a unified (all services participate) called US Space Command.

  • Prophet With Honor

    Marvin the Martian and K-9 will kick his...

  • Honest Commenter

    Of course the actual leaders dodge questions over this idea. While employed they can't call Trump what Tillerson did, even though it's true. Their best hope is Trump's attention gets distracted by something shiny and he moves on.

  • scott

    trump has lots of expertise in this area as he has been a lifelong space cadet.

  • Jack25

    Looney loser Trump strikes again!

  • Hank R

    Why not?

  • bibleexpert

    If only we could Force a few functioning neurons into the Space between Trump's ears!

  • Paulie

    How about calling it "Spaceballs" or "Team America" - no wait, those are movies........

  • The Outlier

    Of course, Trump's blabbing means that we already have a "Space Corps." He wants to rename it the "Space Force" because he thinks it is an original and brilliant name. I am confident that this mission has already been undertaken by the DoD.

  • ryanwiwb

    Anybody else remember Reagan's "Star Wars" defense systems proposal?

  • USA Dad Overseas

    "I said maybe we need a new force. We'll call it Space Force. And I was not really serious...Then I said what a great idea. Maybe we'll have to do that. That could happen."

    OMFG...a guy who talks like this, a guy who THINKS ad-hoc like this...is running our country?!? It's like US citizens are "extras" in a bad reality show no one can break contract with to get out of.
    What the hell were the people who voted for this guy thinking?

  • Impetus

    Everyone knows that your space force has to be Marines. That's how it is in every video game ever.

  • wendy s. king

    Oh goody ! Now we can make it even worse because he likes conflict! Lets give China plenty of warning too, so they can nuclearize space before we do! Great moves! So presidential! Get this nutcase out of the White House!

  • ROBOTIX JONES

    "Trump Wars: The Covfefe Strikes Back"

  • Puddin' Twain

    Hail to the Chief Space Cadet!

  • BG Davis

    Meanwhile, Russia has developed a fighter-launched, very long range hypersonic missile that can carry a nuclear warhead. And they have developed a 100-mph torpedo with a range of well over 1000 miles - a sort of undersea cruise missile - that has a hydrogen bomb warhead. Both of these weapons are almost impossible to defend against. As usual, Trump is looking the wrong way.

  • cyric0

    Before Trump starts a Space Force maybe he should learn how to properly spell Marine Corps. tip: it's not 'Marine Core'.

  • Ron Fuller

    Space force..........and Trump thought it up..... All by himself. I really hope I am not the only one that sees the insanity of it all!

  • Kevin Smith

    and then we can start on our Death Star

  • poultrygeist

    The best way to build a "space force" is by cutting taxes, trust me.

  • Furrmin The Cat

    "Wilson would only say she welcomed the president and vice president's leadership on space operations"

    This is republican speak for "he's a f'in moron."

  • xThatxSamexDudex

    Oh Lord.. Trump either discovered Halo or Gundam Wing...

  • virgillionhere

    I miss the good ole days when we were trying to keep space a place of peace and cooperated with our fellow human beings on the Space Station, etc.

  • Rubbed Sage

    With Trump in charge, wouldn't it be Space Farce?

  • Fermer Votre Bouche

    The most complete vacuum in the universe is the space between Trumps ears.

  • Prophet With Honor

    Space(lack of)balls.

  • GorillaMyDreams

    "My new national strategy for space recognizes that space is a
    war-fighting domain, just like the land, air, and sea. We may even have a
    Space Force -- develop another one: Space Force,"

    And all the military leaders did a facepalm.

  • Kevin Smith

    You know, In case Mars Attacks

  • askew

    He will be the first cadet

  • b rubble

    Trump: Barron, I am your father.
    Barron: NOooooo!!!!!

  • b rubble

    No it wasn't your great idea. It was Reagan's. Trying to take credit again?

  • b rubble

    Is he going to have a laser cat developed also?

  • southwestfan

    When he started talking about his "Laser", did he use air quotes and pet his hairless cat?

  • b rubble

    Top Air Force leaders sidestepped questions from Congress this morning about the creation of the "Space Force" suggested by President Donald Trump Tuesday.
    One of two things as to why Top Air Force leaders sidestepped questions. One they are shaking their heads and thinking what an idiot trump is. Two they are shaking their heads because it was supposed to be top secret and thinking what an idiot trump is.

  • Dukedaddy

    This reminds me of Ronald Raygun's Star Wars space defence system. I guess Trump thinks it worked for Raygun, it'll work for him.

    But hey, to heck with reducing the debt like he promised. Space warfare sounds great to the simple minded cult followers. They don't understand mathematics so the concept of debt, so they don't care how much this will cost us.

  • tet1953

    He said it, but wasn't really serious. Then he remembered...hey, I'm a genius. If I thought of it it must be a great idea. So let's have a space force.

  • PrettySmart1

    No doubt Trump imagines his Space Force will carry sick laser-beam weapons as well...

  • AwfHand

    "You know, I was saying it the other day, because we are doing a tremendous amount of work in space. I said maybe we need a new force. We'll call it Space Force. And I was not really serious. Then I said what a great idea. Maybe we'll have to do that. That could happen."
    Conversations like this happen when people are drunk around the campfire.
    Facepalm.

  • James Coletrane

    Trump shouldn't watch the Ancient Aliens show late at night

  • Bill B.

    I'm beginning to question my own intelligence. How many times can I can be shocked by his illiteracy & his simple mindedness?! I think I'm getting used to his dishonesty, corruption & racism though.