WASHINGTON DC (CBSDFW.COM) – Texas Sen. Ted Cruz made his case for the Trump administration’s Space Force plan as chairman of a hearing on Tuesday.

During his opening remarks at “The Emerging Space Environment: Operational, Technical, and Policy Challenges” hearing, Cruz said that Space Force is necessary to defend against possible adversaries and to protect commerce.

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Cruz said space has become a center for military action and that the U.S. has to start working on its efforts in space.

“We have to forthrightly acknowledge that space has also become a domain of military completion. From the development and testing of anti-satellite missiles, to the possible deployment of space-based weapons systems, the threats we face—to our burgeoning commercial space sector, our civil space exploration efforts, and to our national defense—are real, and it is long past time for the United States to act,” he said.

The senator compared naval travel and the ancient Greeks to the needed voyages into space.

“Since the ancient Greeks first put to sea, nations have recognized the necessity of naval forces and maintaining a superior capability to protect waterborne travel and commerce from bad actors,” Cruz said. “Pirates threatened the open seas and the same is possible in space.”

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President Trump officially directed the Pentagon to establish a sixth branch of the U.S. military in space in June of 2018. According to CBS News, the establishment of a new branch of the military would be a major undertaking requiring extensive debate and congressional support.

It’s seen as a way for the U.S. to begin exploring space for materials and for excursions to places like the Moon and Mars.

Cruz’s reference to “pirates” appeared to be in relation to possible hostility between nations as space exploration goes into full force.

“We too must now recognize the necessity of a Space Force to defend the nation and to protect space commerce and civil space exploration,” Cruz said.

Some people on social media had fun with Cruz alluding to “pirates” in space.

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Kevin M. Gill, a software engineer at NASA, replied to a tweet by Elon Musk with a picture of a pirate ship in space.