By Mike Stone and Jeff Mason
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump on Tuesday took a step toward creating a U.S. Space Force, a new branch of the military dedicated to handling threats in space.
Trump signed Space Policy Directive 4, which puts in place the foundation for a legislative initiative that could establish a Space Force as a new military service comparable to the U.S. Marines.
In an oval office signing ceremony, Trump said the Space Force is a national security priority.
The memo directs the Department of Defence "to marshal its space resources to deter and counter threats in space," through the establishment of the force that would be part of the Air Force, according to a draft seen by Reuters.
Establishing the Space Force will require Congressional approval.
In August, the Trump Administration announced an ambitious plan to usher in the force as the sixth branch of the military by 2020.
(Reporting by Mike Stone and Jeff Mason; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Bill Berkrot)