Pence: Space Force military branch to be established by 2020

Saul Bowman
August 10, 2018

He quoted Trump in saying that this was unacceptable and that "We must have American dominance in space".

The debate is over.

Even if everything goes smoothly on the political and military fronts, there are still legal and technical obstacles to the Trump-Pence vision of a US Space Force.

Pointing to growing threats and competition from Russian Federation and China, the White House on Thursday announced ambitious plans to create the U.S. Space Force as a sixth, separate military warfighting service by 2020. It was only seven weeks ago that President Trump directed DoD to begin the process.

"It is becoming a contested war fighting domain and we have to adapt to that reality", Mattis said as he introduced Pence. "Space is essential to the nation's security and prosperity".

Needless to say, the idea of having "space warriors", as the Department of Defense so nerdishly calls them, has Twitter exploding with memes and hilarious tweets. "And the United States will not shrink from this challenge", he said.

Just as advances in aviation technology drove the emergence of air as a new battlefield in the 20th century, advances in space technology have made it clear that space is the new battlefield for the 21st century, the vice president said.

Pence, at Thursday's meeting, stressed that the new branch would be built, in part, from pre-existing elements.

On June 18, Trump showed that he was serious about the Space Force by formally directing the Pentagon to create the new military branch. Nobody in the Pentagon believes creating a Space Force makes sense.

He did, however, say the Pentagon was in "complete agreement" with the White House.

The Department of Defence plan calls for establishing a Space Development Agency, a Space Operations Force and a Space Command, copying to some extent the existing services and wings of other branches.

Its creation however is not a done deal, as it needs to be approved by Congress, and the concept has met with some skepticism from lawmakers and defense officials who are wary of the cost and added bureaucracy.

The idea of a Space Force had been raised previously, but ran into stiff opposition from Pentagon brass.

The US is a member of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, a document which represents the basic legal framework of global space law.

President Donald Trump ordered the creation of Space Force in June, arguing the Pentagon needs it to tackle vulnerabilities in space and assert United States dominance in orbit.

Ultimately, Congress must establish the new department, the vice president said. Things could get contentious on Capitol Hill as the Space Force issue has taken a more partisan tone.

The Republicans face a battle to hang on to control of the Senate and House of Representatives in November's mid-term elections.

The Pentagon will hire space experts to create the new force which will be headed by a four-star general and be operational by 2020. The new branch would need to compete for money with other big, politically protected Defense Department priorities that Congress already funds.

President Donald Trump's re-election team seized on his administration's push for a "Space Force" on Thursday, pledging to sell branded merchandise to his supporters.

Pence portrayed the change as a response to foes' potential aggression rather than any offensive US military effort.

"There will be no Millennium Falcon, no Jedis or Wookiees we are sad to report", Smith said. It already contains a Space Command, which it established in 1982.

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