CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- On this May the Fourth, Star Wars could soon become a reality, and President Donald Trump wants to make sure America is prepared.
- Trump proposes creating new military branch called 'Space Force'
- US 'Space Force' would protect America's assets in space
- Space Florida VP says a Space Force will be needed eventually
It is the stuff of science fiction, but this week President Donald Trump, at a White House event with West Point's football team, floated the idea of a "Space Force."
"You will be part of the five proud branches of the United States Armed Forces: Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and the Coast Guard. And we're actually thinking of a sixth, and that would be the Space Force," the president said Tuesday.
The Air Force currently conducts missions in space. Its X-37B top-secret space plane is currently in orbit above Earth.
The goal of a Space Force would be to devote more resources and attention to protecting America's assets in space, as well as defending them from hostile countries.
"Space is becoming a more contested and competitive environment, both economically and militarily, not unlike everything else here on the planet," Space Florida Vice President Dale Ketcham said.
Space Florida is the state's aerospace agency for economic development, research and exploration.
Ketcham says whether it is today or in the future, a Space Force will be needed.
"Eventually, everyone understands we're going to need to have fleets of starships as part of the defense, the same way the Federation had fleets of starships in Star Trek," Ketcham said.
For members of the U.S. military, this out-of-the-world proposal is no laughing matter. Trump is now considering how to move forward with the idea.
"We're getting very big in space, both militarily and for other reasons, and we are seriously thinking of the Space Force," Trump said.
Legislation to create something similar, called a Space Corps, was dropped last year in Congress. No timetable has been laid out publicly for the creation of a Space Force.