Published: Thu, August 09, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Pence outlines plans to have new U.S. Space Force by 2020

Pence outlines plans to have new U.S. Space Force by 2020

"Ultimately, Congress must act to establish this new department, which will organize, train and equip the United States Space Force", Pence said.

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Vice President Pence called Thursday for America to assert its dominance in space as he made a direct appeal to the Pentagon for a sixth military branch serving this goal - and revealed the Trump administration wants to create the "Space Force" by 2020.

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

Indeed, insiders say the fact that the Pentagon delayed its long-awaited study on setting up a Space Force - initially scheduled to be released last week - could be evidence of behind-the-scenes dissension between military leaders and political officials inside the Trump administration.

Shortly after Pence's speech, Trump tweeted: "Space Force all the way!"

These developments come some seven weeks after President Donald Trump announced his plan to create a dedicated service branch for space, ordering the Pentagon to begin planning for a space force. Now such issues largely fall under the Air Force. What does it include and what would the force do? The idea would be similar to how special operations forces from across the military services are distributed to various commands.

Kelly, who participated in several NASA missions to the International Space Station (ISS), claimed during an interview Thursday on MSNBC that Trump is the only person who thinks a "Space Force" is a good idea. "Under President Trump's leadership we will meet it head on".

But just a year ago, Mattis voiced skepticism on the need to create a separate Space Force. Space is vital to the way the United States wages war; The Pentagon's satellites are used for missile-defence warnings, guiding precision munitions, and providing communications and reconnaissance. "This new command ... will establish unified command and control for our Space Force operations, ensure integration across the military, and develop the space warfighting doctrine, tactics, techniques, and procedures of the future", he said.

Given the stakes surrounding building a new branch of the military, the issue is likely to be a political football. That's a big statement. "It is going to be something", President Trump announced at a June meeting of the National Space Council. "We must have American dominance in space".

Former astronaut and retired U.S. Navy Captain Mark Kelly called the venture "redundant and wasteful".

In 2007, China blew up a dead weather satellite with a missile, creating a massive debris cloud in orbit.

"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.

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