US President Donald Trump has ordered the US military to establish a sixth branch of its armed forces – a “space force”.

Trump said the move would strengthen national security and the economy, and create jobs.

“It is not enough to merely have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space,” Mr Trump said at the White House.

“I’m hereby directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a space force as the sixth branch of the armed forces,” he announced.

Speaking ahead of the meeting with the National Space Council, Trump is quoted as saying: “This time, we will do more than plant our flag and leave our footprints. We will establish a long-term presence, expand our economy, and build the foundation for the eventual mission to Mars.”

US Congress would need to pass a law authorising it before any new branch of the military could be created, the BBC reports.

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