Pence outlines plan to create U.S. Space Force by 2020


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Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday laid out details for President Donald Trump's proposed new branch of the USA military responsible for protecting national security in outer space.

Pence said it is needed to ensure America's dominance in space amid heightened completion and threats from China and Russian Federation.

"President Trump and I are grateful to Secretary Mattis for this department's diligence in preparing this report, and our administration will soon take action to implement these recommendations, with the objective of establishing the United States Department of the Space Force by 2020", he said.

Critics argue that Trump's Space Force would be stepping on the toes of the U.S. Air Force Space Command, which now oversees the nation's military operations in space. "Space is, in his words, a war-fighting domain just like land and air and sea".

Fox News host Shepard Smith is sad to report that Donald Trump's proposed Space Force will not include anything from the Star Wars franchise. The idea would be similar to how special operations forces from across the military services are distributed to various commands.

Thursday's announcement coincided with a report detailed by the Pentagon on how the newest branch of the USA military is set to work. John McCain, R-Ariz., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, that he opposed "the creation of a new military service and additional organizational layers at a time when we are focused on reducing overhead and integrating joint warfighting functions".

The Pentagon report, however, included a plan to create a unified combatant command, known as the U.S. Space Command, by the end of 2018, according to a copy reviewed by Reuters.

It's unclear how these changes would be integrated into or exist alongside the creation of a separate Department of the Space Force should Congress authorize its existence next year.

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The new branch will be separate from, but equal to, the five other branches, he said. In a letter to Congress past year, Secretary James Mattis said he opposed the idea of a separate force, arguing that it would "likely present a narrower and even parochial approach to space operations" and said that a "properly integrated approach is better for carrying out this mission".

However, before it gets off the ground - Space Force still needs Congress to pass new legislation.

Meanwhile, others have argued that it makes sense to form a separate military branch specifically for space.

In his speech, Pence acknowledged the difficulties in standing up a new service, and said the Pentagon would create an Assistant Secretary of Defence for Space, a new top level civilian position reporting to the Secretary of Defence "to oversee the growth and expansion of the sixth branch of service". That's a big statement. Trump, the champion of the plan, tweeted: "Space Force all the way!" "It is going to be something", President Trump announced at a June meeting of the National Space Council.

Mr Trump "knows that space is integral to our American way of life and economic prosperity and is a vital domain for national defence" while, under his direction, the United States is "reclaiming its heritage as the world's greatest space-faring nation", the White House said. The move could significantly reorganize the military and potentially strip the Air Force of some of its key responsibilities. In 2007, China destroyed one of its dead weather satellites with a missile.

"China and Russian Federation have been conducting highly sophisticated on-orbit activities that could enable them to maneuver their satellites into close proximity of ours, posing unprecedented new dangers to our space systems", he said. "Both nations are also investing heavily in hypersonic missiles that are created to fly up to 5 miles per second and at such low altitudes that they could evade detection by our missile-defense radars".

He warned about developments made by Russian Federation and China claiming that "hypersonic" weapons were nearly a reality.

U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence speaks during an event on the creation of a United States Space Force at the Pentagon on Thursday. "But history proves that peace only comes through strength", he added.