Donald Trump Signs Defense Bill, Officially Making Space Force The Sixth Branch Of The U.S. Military

Just days after the House of Representatives passed two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, he seemed unshaken as he signed a massive defense bill that included the official formation of America's newest branch of the military: the U.S. Space Force.

According to The Hill, Trump signed off on the bi-partisan National Defense Authorization Act, which gave both Democrats and Republicans several requested items. The bill was signed into law before the president departed for his Mar-a-Lago resort, during a ceremony held at Joint Base Andrews on Friday.

The bill included a raise for all U.S. military troops and Democrats were seemingly happy that the signing of the bill provides all federal employees a 12-week paid parental leave package. Over 2 million Americans will be eligible for the paid leave package for the first time.

But according to Trump's speech on Friday, the shining and most historic result of the bill is the formation of Space Force, which means Trump became the first president to create a new branch of the U.S. military since former President Harry Truman, over seven decades ago when he created the U.S. Air Force.

"For the first time since President Harry S. Truman created the Air Force over 70 years ago – think of that – we will create a brand new American military service. That's such a momentous statement," Trump said on Friday.

"With my signature today, you will witness the birth of the Space Force, and that will be now officially the sixth branch of the United States Armed Forces. That is something really incredible. It's a big moment. That's a big moment, and we're all here for it. Space, going to be a lot of things happening in space," he added.

President Donald Trump speaks at the signing ceremony for S.1709, The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020.
Getty Images | Tasos Katopodis

Space Force was formed primarily to counter space-based threats from potential future enemies who might have similar capabilities, such as Russia or China. The new branch will technically belong to the Air Force, in the same manner that the U.S. Marine Corps is under the U.S. Navy.

The idea for Trump's version of Space Force was first mentioned by the president in 2018, though The Hill reported that the original idea emerged in 2017 from a bi-partisan House proposal, but didn't manage to gain any traction at the time.

Along with the president at Friday's ceremony was his daughter, Ivanka Trump and first lady Melania Trump. Vice President Mike Pence U.S., Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, and other high-ranking government and military official also joined the president for the announcement.