On Friday, President Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. Not only did this approve the country's 2020 military budget, but it also made the Space Force a branch of the military.
"With my signature today, you will witness the birth of the Space Force, and that will be now officially the sixth branch of the U.S. Armed Forces," Trump said during the event. "The Space Force will help us deter aggression and control the ultimate high ground."
Similar to the U.S. Marine Corps' relationship with the Navy, the Space Force will be a separate service within the Department of the Air Force. The branch's main purpose is to organize, train, and equip military personnel who work with space operations. This follows the creation of the U.S. Space Command in August. The Space Command was established to be a "warfighting force" capable of defensive or offensive military missions from space. Initially, the Space Force will consist of 16,000 active duty Air Force and civilians who are currently serving in the Space Command. It will eventually expand to personnel in different military branches.
Air Force Gen. John Raymond was named the head of the Space Force at Friday's event. Raymond explains that there is no shortage of interest from potential members of the Space Force, but he's not going to jump at every opportunity. Instead, he'll make thorough and careful decisions to ensure the branch's future.
"There is an incredible excitement across our service about Space Force," Raymond said. "There are people knocking on the door saying 'Hey, how do we become a part of this?'.... It’s going to be really important that we get this right. We’re not going to be in a rush to get something and not do that right."
It's unclear when the Space Force will go into effect; Raymond is still figuring out the branch's look.
"There are as you can imagine thousands and thousands of actions that are going to have to take place," Raymond continued. "Everything from what does a uniform look like, to a logo, all the way up to who is in the Space Force and who is not in the Space Force."