A Pentagon spokesman confirmed the U.S. development of various hypersonic weapons, after President Donald Trump announced the existence of a “super duper missile” that is faster than any that America’s geostrategic rivals have.
“The Department of Defense is working on developing a range of hypersonic missiles to counter our adversaries,” Jonathan Hoffman, the Defense Department press secretary, said in a May 15 tweet.
The Department of Defense is working on developing a range of hypersonic missiles to counter our adversaries. https://t.co/ATb1XLHFtl
— Jonathan Rath Hoffman (@ChiefPentSpox) May 15, 2020
Trump made the comment during a brief Oval Office event at which Defense Department officials presented him with the new Space Force flag. He claimed the “super-duper missile” could travel “17 times faster than what we have right now.”
“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,” Trump said, singling out Russia and China.
“You’ve heard Russia has five times, and China is working on five or six times,” referring to missile speed.
“We have one 17 times,” the president said. “And it’s just gotten the go-ahead.”
Trump said at the meeting that the frontier of space would be “the future, both in terms of defense and offense,” before inviting Gen. John Raymond, chief of space operations, to talk about the new Space Force flag.
“The North Star signifies our core value—our guiding light, if you will,” Raymond said. “And the orbit around the globe signifies the space capabilities that fuel our American way of life and our American way of war.”
The dark blue and white flag also includes elements intended to evoke the vast recesses of outer space.
This flag was produced by artists and craftspeople at the Defense Logistics Agency flag room in Philadelphia from a design finalized and documented by the Department’s Institute of Heraldry at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
The Space Force, which was officially established last December, is the first new military service since the U.S. Air Force was established in 1947. The 16,000 airmen and civilians that make up the Space Force technically remain part of the Air Force, which previously oversaw offensive operations in space.
Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper called the presentation of the flag historic.
“The United States has been a space-faring nation for decades,” he said during the short ceremony.
The creation of the Space Force was necessary because adversaries have “weaponized” space, he said, adding that space has become a war-fighting domain.
“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,” Esper said.