1:28 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much. This is a very special moment because this is the presentation of the Space Force flag. So we’ve worked very hard on this. And it’s so important from a defensive standpoint, from an offensive standpoint, from every standpoint there is.
As you know, China and Russia, perhaps others, started off a lot sooner than us. We should have started this a long time ago, but we’ve made up for it in spades. We have developed some of the most incredible weapons anyone has ever seen, and it’s moving along very rapidly. And we have tremendous people in charge.
And I — what I’d like to do is I’d like to just start by asking some of those folks to say a few words. And the importance strategically, militarily, and even from a pure civilian standpoint, and from bringing our economy back — everything — it’s going to help so much. All made right here in the USA. And it’s going to be very special, very important. Space Force.
First time in 72 years-plus that we’ve opened up a new branch of the United States military.
And, Mark, maybe I’ll start with you. You’ll saw a few words. Please.
SECRETARY ESPER: Yes, sir. Let me just say it’s a very historic moment. The United States has been a spacefaring nation for decades, but we know that our adversaries in the last several years have weaponized space. They’ve made it a warfighting domain. And so with the establishment of Space Force and the establishment of Space Command, the United States is now doing what it needs to do to protect our assets in space and ensure that space remains the heavens by which we not only protect America, but we sustain our economy, we sustain our commercial capabilities, we sustain Americans’ way of life.
So again, another very historic moment. I’m confident that both the Space Force and the Space Command will do what is necessary to defend us in space and to keep America great.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Great job you’re doing, too.
General Milley? Please.
GENERAL MILLEY: Sir. Thank you, Mr. President. And as the Secretary said, this is a historic day. Some time ago, we made a decision to establish the Space Force, and that’s because we’re undergoing a changing character of war, which is of historic importance for all nations.
And as part of that, the space part of our universe opened up as a domain of warfare. And it’s critical that if we are going to sustain our way of life, if we’re going to defend our nation, that we’re going to have to defend ourselves in space and therefore the need for Space Force.
And it’s a great day for the nation, it’s a great day, really, for the world that the United States of America establishes its first Space Force.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much.
GENERAL RAYMOND: Mr. President, thank you for your leadership.
THE PRESIDENT: Congratulations, by the way.
GENERAL RAYMOND: Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Number one.
GENERAL RAYMOND: Yes, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s great.
GENERAL RAYMOND: I appreciate the honor.
Sixteen thousand space professionals assigned to the Space Force. We’re proud of this flag. They come to work every day focusing on providing space capabilities for our nation, for our joint coalition forces, and for the world. We’re proud of this flag. We’re proud to have an opportunity to present it to you here for display in the White House.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you.
GENERAL RAYMOND: Thank you for your leadership —
THE PRESIDENT: Appreciate it.
GENERAL RAYMOND: — very much.
SECRETARY BARRETT: Thank you, Mr. President. You’ve really demonstrated leadership in establishing the Space Force. This is an important moment and an important month, actually.
Most of the Americans, before their first cup of coffee in the morning, have used space, but very few people realize how important space is —
THE PRESIDENT: That’s right.
SECRETARY BARRETT: — to everything that we do, and that it’s vulnerable, because we need to up our game in space. And you’ve recognized that and built a force that will help to protect our assets in space and deter aggressive action in space and, if deterrence doesn’t work, to be able to defend our assets in space and those of our allies.
So we thank you very much for the leadership you’ve demonstrated and we’re excited for this breakthrough moment.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much. I appreciate it. We’re building, right now, incredible military equipment at a level that nobody has ever seen before. We have no choice. We have to do it — with the adversaries we have out there.
We have a — I call it the “super-duper missile.” And I heard the other night, 17 times faster than what they have right now.
SECRETARY ESPER: Yes, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: And you take the fastest missile we have right now — you’ve heard Russia has five times, and China is working on five or six times. We have one 17 times. And it’s just gotten the go-ahead. Seventeen times faster, if you can believe that, General. That’s something, right? Seventeen times faster than what we have right now. Fastest in the world by a factor of almost three.
So I just want to congratulate everybody and thank everybody. Space is going to be — it’s going to be the future, both in terms of defense and offense and so many other things.
And already, from what I’m hearing and based on reports, we’re now the leader in space, and that took place. Don’t forget, we’re having a meeting today. This is really to unfurl the flag. But we’ve been doing this now for quite a while. I have to say that from my standpoint, having a force — a space force, in this case, but to be adding to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which I’ve known about and read about and heard about all my life — just like General Milley to be the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is something that’s a very special thing.
Well, to add another force into the Joint Chiefs and — and we’re getting a four star. In this case, we’re getting a four-star general on your board. So we’re doing something — right here. So we’re doing something that is such a monumental task.
So it’s been more than 72 years. The Air Force, I believe, was the last one. And so we have Air Force. And not since the Air Force has anything like this happened, and now we have Space Force added on with — with full honors, I must add. With full honors.
So today, we’re here for a very important — it’s really an important occasion because we’re unfurling the flag. And with us is Chief Master Sergeant Roger Towberman. And he is — I’d like you to say exactly, because his rank is a very special rank. Tell us about that rank.
CHIEF MASTER SERGEANT TOWBERMAN: Yes, sir. I’m the senior enlisted advisor for the United States Space Force.
THE PRESIDENT: And the highest — highest sergeant by far, right?
CHIEF MASTER SERGEANT TOWBERMAN: Yes, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: There’s no —
CHIEF MASTER SERGEANT TOWBERMAN: And at the moment, the only one. So I give counsel to the Secretary and to the Chief —
THE PRESIDENT: That’s — that’s pretty good.
GENERAL RAYMOND: Mr. President, this rank is custom designed.
THE PRESIDENT: Wow. That’s beautiful. Wow. That’s it.
GENERAL RAYMOND: And he’s the only — the only Airman —
THE PRESIDENT: That’s beautiful.
GENERAL RAYMOND: — the only Airman that wears that rank and will be the only Airman that wears that rank. He’s the senior enlisted leader.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s fantastic. And I heard tremendous things about you, Roger.
CHIEF MASTER SERGEANT TOWBERMAN: Thanks.
THE PRESIDENT: It’s a very important position. And you’re with all these generals. But you know what? He’s an important guy, right?
So why don’t we go ahead and do it? Let’s do it. Yes, please.
CHIEF MASTER SERGEANT TOWBERMAN: Thank you.
(The flag is unfurled.) (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: That’s fantastic, Roger. I’ll walk over there. That is great. You stay right there.
That’s fantastic. Isn’t that great? Please, get in the picture. That’s beautiful.
SECRETARY ESPER: And, Mr. President, it will stand in your office alongside the other service flags.
THE PRESIDENT: Very, very great honor. It’s a great honor. That’s a beautiful flag, too. Roger, hold that up so they can see. That’s really beautiful. Wow.
It’s a big — that’s a big day.
Q Can somebody explain the logo?
SECRETARY ESPER: General Raymond?
THE PRESIDENT: Please. Go ahead.
GENERAL RAYMOND: So the delta in the middle is a symbol that the space community has used for years and years and years. The North Star signifies our core value — our guiding light, if you will. And the orbit around the globe signifies the space capabilities that fuel our American way of life and our American way of war.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s great. I’m going to do this for Roger. Here, Roger. Please don’t put this on eBay tonight. (Laughter.) Here, Roger. Come here a minute.
And we’re going to sign. Okay, Roger, that’s for you.
CHIEF MASTER SERGEANT TOWBERMAN: Thank you so much.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s for you.
SECRETARY BARRETT: Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Okay. So let’s do it. This is great stuff.
(The proclamation is signed.)
Okay. Let’s see, I have — I think we have no choice, right? General, come on over here.
GENERAL RAYMOND: Absolutely.
THE PRESIDENT: Good luck.
GENERAL RAYMOND: Mr. President, thanks you, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Good luck. Okay?
GENERAL RAYMOND: Thanks for your — thanks for the honor.
THE PRESIDENT: Fantastic. And these are going for everybody, please. Okay?
(Pens are distributed.)
SECRETARY BARRETT: Thank you very much.
THE PRESIDENT: Roger. Thank you very much. Mark, you’re all set? General, come on over here. General Kellogg has been fantastic. Done a great job. He’s working on a special project now, aren’t you?
LIEUTENANT GENERAL KELLOGG: I am, sir. And we’re going to get it done.
THE PRESIDENT: It’s a very special project. (Applause.)
Okay? Got it? Thank you all very much. Thank you.
I’ll be going to Camp David tonight with a lot of different people. We have some big things happening. So I’ll be at Camp David tonight with various people.
Q Who’s going?
THE PRESIDENT: Various people, including some of the folks on the Hill and some of our great leaders.
Q To talk about what exactly?
THE PRESIDENT: Different things. Different things.
Q Phase four?
THE PRESIDENT: Uh, no, not so much phase four. Phase four could happen, but it will happen the right way. We have all the cards because we have the cards for the American people. I know what they want. And I’ve always known what they want. That’s why I’m sitting here.
No, phase four is going to happen, but it’s going to happen in a much better way for the American people.
Okay. Thank you all very much.
END 1:39 P.M. EDT