Praising Space Force, Trump says Russian, Chinese plans to ‘Dominate' the cosmos have been thwarted.

The Trump administration established Space Force as an independent branch of the military in December 2019, with the force consisting of about 10,000 personnel and 77 satellites. It is formally tasked with ‘protecting US interests’ in the new potential warfighting domain.

The establishment of Space Force has foiled Russian and Chinese plans to “dominate” space, President Donald Trump has suggested.

“The other thing we’ve done is Space Force. It’s the first time in 76 years that we have a new force. We have so important – the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard and now we have the [Space] Force. It’s so great, and it’s so important,” Trump said, listing off his administration’s accomplishments to Fox News host Sean Hannity on Thursday.

“I didn’t even talk about that in the campaign. This was after I got into office I realized we need it. Because China and Russia were gonna dominate space, and we can’t let that – now we’re going to be dominating space. They’re not too happy about what we did with Space Force but we have it,” Trump added.

“So we have now Space Force, so important, and so many other things Sean – regulation cuts, tax cuts, biggest tax cuts in history, biggest regulation cuts in history and we’re going to continue that forward. There are still many things we can do. But the bottom line is we’re putting America first and we’re making America better than it’s ever been. We’re going to have a great year next year, we’re going to have a great third quarter,” Trump promised.

Trump unveiled the new flag for Space Force in the Oval Office in May, with the military branch receiving $2.4 billion in initial procurement funding, and the White House requesting another $15.4 billion in 2021.

Space Force began its first mission last week, with a Minotaur IV rocket blasting off from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia carrying four classified payloads for the National Reconnaissance Office. In May, Space Force began training personnel “space warfighting” courses at the Moorman Space Education and Training Center in Colorado Springs.

This week, the Space Force accused Russia of staging a “non-destructive” test of an anti-satellite weapon from one of its orbiting satellites. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded to the allegation Friday, saying Moscow remains committed to the complete demilitarization of space, and is opposed to the deployment of any types of weapons in space.

Russian and Chinese officials have repeatedly expressed their opposition to the deployment of weapons in outer space, warning that developments in this arena could lead to an arms race that spirals out of control. In February, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged international actors to formulate general rules of conduct to prevent a dangerous escalation. 

At the moment, nations’ actions in space are governed by the Outer Space Treaty, a document created in the 1960s which prohibits the deployment of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in space, and bars the use of the Moon and other celestial bodies for military purposes. The treaty also states that no country may claim sovereignty over any portion of space or its celestial bodies.