Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The U.S. Space Force has become the sixth and newest branch of the nation's military, after President Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act.

Space is the world’s new war-fighting domain."
— President Trump's remarks at the launch

Our thought bubble, per Axios' Miriam Kramer: Some space experts are concerned that the U.S. has fallen behind as other nations — like China — have made moves to weaponize space. The establishment of the Space Force could help the U.S. catch up.

  • Others warn that the Space Force will put too much focus on military uses of outer space instead of maintaining it as a peaceful realm.

The big picture: The Space Force became the newest military service since 1947 when Trump signed the bill into law on Friday, just two days after being impeached by the House.

  • It's part of a $1.4 trillion government spending package, which encompasses the budget of the Pentagon. It provides a "steady stream of financing" for the president's southern border wall plans, reversing an "unpopular and unworkable automatic spending cuts to defense and domestic programs, AP notes.
  • Some 16,000 Air Force members and civilians who worked at Air Force Space Command have been assigned to serve the new military branch, which was re-designated the Space Force.

What's next: Some of the new personnel will be officially transferred to the Space Force next year, "while others will remain within the Air Force," per ABC News, which notes service members from the "Army and Navy's space programs will be integrated into the new service."

What to watch: Kaitlyn Johnson, a space policy expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, noted to AP that with many Democrats against the Space Force becoming a separate military branch, the service "could be curtailed or even dissolved if a Democrat wins the White House next November."

Go deeper: Space Force's Catch-22

Go deeper

Updated 24 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 33,642,602 — Total deaths: 1,007,769 — Total recoveries: 23,387,825Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 7,191,061 — Total deaths: 205,998 — Total recoveries: 2,813,305 — Total tests: 103,155,189Map.
  3. Health: Americans won't take Trump's word on the vaccine, Axios-Ipsos poll finds.
  4. Politics: 7 former FDA commissioners say Trump is undermining agency's credibility
  5. States: NYC's coronavirus positivity rate spikes to highest since June.
  6. Sports: Tennessee Titans close facility amid NFL's first coronavirus outbreak.
  7. World: U.K. beats previous record for new coronavirus cases.
  8. Work: United States of burnout — Asian American unemployment spikes amid pandemic

In photos: Deadly wildfires devastate California's wine country

The Shady Fire ravages a home as it approaches Santa Rosa in Napa County, California, on Sept. 28. The blaze is part of the massive Glass Fire Complex, which has razed 46,600 acres at 2% containment. Photo: Samuel Corum/Agence France-Presse/AFP via Getty Images

Some 18,700 firefighters are battling 27 major blazes across California, including in the heart of the wine country, where one mega-blaze claimed the lives of three people and forced thousands of others to evacuate this week.

The big picture: 8,155 wildfires have burned across a record 3.86 million acres, killing 26 people and razing almost 7,900 structures in California this year, per Cal Fire. Just like the deadly blazes of 2017, the wine country has become a wildfires epicenter. Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency in Napa, Sonoma, and Shasta counties.

Mike Allen, author of AM
Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The first Trump v. Biden presidential debate was a hot mess

Photos: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

This debate was like the country: Everybody’s talking. Nobody’s listening. Nothing is learned. It’s a mess.

  • We were told President Trump would be savage. Turned out, that was a gross understatement. Even the moderator, Fox News' Chris Wallace, got bulldozed.

Why it matters: Honestly, who the hell knows?