In statements given before a group of Marines and journalists at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, in San Diego, last week, President Trump announced that he believed the nation may need to establish a space-specific branch of the military in order to best defend America’s assets in orbit. While the concept has been brought up by lawmakers before, the President’s newfound fervor for a space branch came as a particular surprise, as it contradicts the positions of senior defense officials within his cabinet, including Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

Given the president’s tenacity for making off the cuff remarks, some wondered just how serious Donald Trump really was about the establishment of the science fiction sounding, “Space Force,” but new statements from senior defense officials seem to indicate that the president has every intention of following through the concept.

“He is very interested in ensuring that the department is best organized and equipped to achieve our vital missions in space,” Kenneth Rapuano, assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and global security, told the House Armed Services subcommittee on strategic forces on Thursday.

His testimony, which was given in the company of Gen. John ‘Jay’ Raymond, commander of Air Force Space Command, and Betty Sapp, director of the National Reconnaissance Office, was well received by a number of lawmakers who had, themselves, championed the establishment of a “Space Corps” in their 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) or, what is effectively Congress’s military  budget proposal. While the Space Corps, along with the rest of the NDAA did pass a vote in Congress, the Space Corps was ultimately done away with when the Congress and Senate budget proposals were reconciled into one complete bill.