President Trump celebrated on Friday the launch of Space Force, the first new military service in more than 70 years, the AP reports. In signing the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act that includes Space Force, Trump claimed a victory for one of his top national security priorities just two days after being impeached by the House. It is part of a $1.4 trillion government spending package—including the Pentagon's budget—that provides a steady stream of financing for Trump's US-Mexico border fence and reverses unpopular and unworkable automatic spending cuts to defense and domestic programs. “Space is the world's new war-fighting domain,” Trump said Friday during a signing ceremony at Joint Base Andrews just outside Washington. “Among grave threats to our national security, American superiority in space is absolutely vital. And we're leading, but we're not leading by enough, and very shortly we’ll be leading by a lot."
Space Force has been a reliable applause line at Trump's political rallies, but for the military it's seen more soberly as an affirmation of the need to more effectively organize for the defense of US interests in space—especially satellites used for navigation and communication. Space Force is not designed or intended to put combat troops in space. Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters Friday, "Our reliance on space-based capabilities has grown dramatically, and today outer space has evolved into a warfighting domain of its own.” Maintaining dominance in space, he said, will now be Space Force's mission. Instead of being its own military department, like the Navy, Army, and Air Force, the Space Force will be administered by the Secretary of the Air Force. Space Force will be the provider of forces to US Space Command, a separate organization established earlier this year as the overseer of the military's space operations. (Much more here.)