- The Washington Times - Friday, May 15, 2020

President Trump on Friday said that a planned “super-duper missile” will eventually have the ability to outpace existing nuclear weapons from China and Russia.

In a ceremony that marked the unveiling of the flag of the newest military branch — a first in 72 years — Mr. Trump explained the unspecified weapon is in the works.

“We have — I call it the super-duper missile, and, I heard the other night, [it’s] 17 times faster than what they have right now, when you take the fastest missile we have right now,” he told reporters.

“You’ve heard Russia has five times and China’s working on five or six times, we have one 17 times and it’s just gotten the go-ahead,” he continued without offering further context.

At a White House press briefing following the event, spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany told reporters that Mr. Trump’s comments speak for themselves when asked for specifics about the weapon.

A Pentagon spokesperson has since referred reporters back to the White House for questions about Mr. Trump’s comment.

The military chiefs of the new U.S. Space Force presented Mr. Trump with the service branch’s official flag in the Oval Office, where it will stand with the flags of the five other armed services.

In 2018, Mr. Trump directed the Pentagon to begin planning for a new, independent military service that would focus on space operations. The U.S. Space Force was signed into law in December 2019 as part of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper called the unveiling a “very historic moment,” and said the establishment of the Space Force will “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.”

“Very few people realize how important space is to everything that we do, and that it’s vulnerable, because we need to up our game in space,” Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett said during the ceremony. “You’ve recognized that and built a force that will help to protect our assets in space and deter aggressive actions in space and if deterrence doesn’t work, to be able to defend our assets in space and those of our allies.”

Dave Boyer contributed to this story.

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