Comments of President Trump and Vice President Pence at Space Force Directive Signing

Donald Trump (Credit: Michael Vadon)

THE PRESIDENT:  Today, I’m thrilled to sign a new order taking the next step to create the United States Space Force. So important, when you look at defense, when you look at all of the other aspects of where the world will be someday. I mean, this is the beginning. This is a very important process.

First, I want to recognize our wonderful Vice President, Mike Pence, who serves as the Chairman of the National Space Council. Thank you, Mike. Great job. I know you feel the same way I do.

I also want to thank Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, who is with us; Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson; Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Paul Selva; and the Executive Secretary of the Space Council, Dr. Scott Pace for being here today.

They’ve all worked very hard on the Space Force. They all believe in it very strongly, as I do. It’s the future. It’s where we’re going. I suspect, whether we like it or not, that’s where we’re going. It’s space. That’s the next step, and we have to be prepared.

Our adversaries and — whether we get along with them or not, they’re up in space. And they’re doing it, and we’re doing it. And that’s going to be a very big part of where the defense of our nation — and you could say “offense” — but let’s just be nice about it and let’s say the defense of our nation is going to be.

America must be fully equipped to defend our vital interests. Our adversaries are training forces and developing technology to undermine our security in space, and they’re working very hard at that.

That’s why my administration has recognized space as a warfighting domain and made the creation of the Space Force a national security priority. I think we’ll have great support from Congress, because they do support something when we’re talking about such importance. And a lot of the generals, a lot of the people involved have been speaking to Congress. And we have some very interesting dialogue going on.

We’re investing in new space capabilities to project military power and safeguard our nation’s interests, especially when it comes to safety and defense.

This directive calls on the Secretary of Defense to develop a legislative proposal that will establish the structure and authority of the Space Force as the sixth branch of the United States Armed Forces. That would mean a high-ranking — the highest-ranking person there would go on to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. So it’s a very, very important deal.

The Space Force will organize, equip, and train the next generation of warriors to deter aggression and defend the nation, our allies, and American interests against hostile actions in the form of space and taking place in space.

So we have a lot of things on the books. We have a lot of new defensive weapons and offensive weapons designed specifically for this, and now we’re going to start taking advantage of. This is something they could have done sooner but they decided to wait. And here I am, and we’re going to do it. And I’m very proud that, during my administration, we’re doing so much in space. We need it.

We’ve already taken historic action to create the United States Space Command, as you know, within the Department of Defense to oversee the nation’s military space operations.

Now, in the face of these threats all around the world, American leadership in space is more important than it ever has been. Before, it used to be something that we’d aspire to, we’d talk about, but we wouldn’t do anything. Now we have to do something because that’s where it’s at.

With today’s action, we will ensure that our people are secure, our interests are protected, and our power continues to be unmatched. There will be nobody that can come close to matching us. It won’t be close.

What we have on the books are things that you wouldn’t even believe. You wouldn’t even believe. It’s going to mean the safety of our nation for many, many decades and many, many generations, and that’s what I’m here for. I guess when you get right down to it, more importantly than anything else, that’s why I’m here.

So I just want to thank everybody. The Space Force is a very important part of my administration and it’s a very important part of this nation. And it’s an honor to be with you all. And I’ll sign and we will then maybe take a few questions and ask a few. You may want to say something. In fact, Mike, why don’t you start off? You’ve been — you and I have been working on this very hard. Why don’t you say a few words? Please.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: We have. Thank you, Mr. President. From the first days of this administration, President Trump has made national security a priority. We’ve secured historic investments in our national defense.

But from very early on, the President also said that America needed to be as dominant in space as we are on the Earth. And now, with this fourth Space Policy Directive, America is leading in space once again.

But in this respect, the President is calling on the Department of Defense to fashion what we have literally been working on for months, consulting with members of Congress and military experts. It will be a legislative proposal that will establish the United States Space Force as the sixth branch of our armed forces.

It will build on the President’s leadership of a United States Space Command, a joint combatant command that we’ve already organized at the President’s direction. But this is now the foundation of ensuring that even as we are dominant in space today, now we’ll begin to bring all of our resources together under U.S. Space Command, which will operate under the Department of the Air Force. And in so doing, we’ll ensure that we bring the best resources and the best minds together to protect the American people and advance our interests.

And, Mr. President, all the members of the National Space Council and the agencies that are a part of it are gathered behind you today —

THE PRESIDENT: That’s right.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: — and we thank you for your leadership and your support in this effort.

THE PRESIDENT: Some great talent, I will say that. Would you like to say something? You’ve helped us so much. Please, Paul.

GENERAL SELVA: Sir, you’ve been incredibly supportive in bringing space to the fore as not only a domain of potential warfare, but also recognizing it as a place where a large amount of our economic power comes from. And so our job to protect our national security includes protecting our economy as well. And so, as your Vice Chairman, the Joint Chiefs endorse all this effort to make sure that we get the right emphasis on defending our interests and our assets in space.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Paul. Patrick? How about you?


THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Secretary.

ACTING SECRETARY SHANAHAN: This is a historic moment. The dawn of a new service. I’d like to thank you for your leadership and, most importantly, the resources so that we can do our job.

Mr. Vice President, thank you for pushing us. We’ve come quite a distance in a very short period of time.

And then to my counterparts here, thank you for all the remarkable teamwork. We will deliver the capability better, sooner, faster so we can sustain our margin of dominance.

Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much.

Maybe John Bolton — you’ve been very much involved and I know how you feel about it.

AMBASSADOR BOLTON: Well, this is a visionary project, Mr. President — your leadership, the Vice President, and really everybody on the Space Council. This is not something for the next year or two, or even the next six years. This is on into the century. A place where, as President Kennedy once said, “I believe space is a new ocean and the United States must sail upon it.” And you’re taking the steps to make sure that, from the national security perspective, the United States will be dominant on that new ocean.

THE PRESIDENT: And we will be. Okay, thank you.

Anybody have anything to say? Huh? Would anybody like to say? Fine? No? Good. We’re all (inaudible). (Laughter.) Right? We’ve said enough. Let’s sign. Let’s sign. It’s very exciting.

(The directive is signed.)

So how about we give this one to Paul? Mike, do you want to do that? Okay. Come on, Paul. That’s a big deal. (Applause.)

It’s very important. Thank you very much. Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.