At Pentagon, Pence pushes for Space Force by 2020

Leroy Wright
August 10, 2018

President Donald Trump's administration on Thursday outlined an aggressive plan for creating a sixth branch of the US military by 2020 - a Space Force to better confront emerging security threats - but the proposal will need approval from a divided Congress.

Mr Pence said the "United States Space Force" will be operated by the military and operational by 2020.

He said the countries "have been conducting highly sophisticated on-orbit activities that could enable them to manoeuvre their satellites into close proximity of ours, posing unprecedented new dangers to our space systems".

The Space Force, which would "prepare [America] for the next battlefield" would be the first new military branch in 71 years - the Air Force having been established in 1947 - and Congress would also need to approve it before it could move ahead. It wasn't immediately clear whether the new force would be a component of the Air Force, as the Marine Corps is to the Navy.

Seth Macfarlane, the showrunner for the Sci-Fi comedy The Orville, put it bests when he tweeted, "If "Space Force" were a TV show, the writers would keep pitching on a better title".

"At a time when we are trying to integrate the Department's joint warfighting functions, I do not wish to add a separate service that would likely present a narrower and even parochial approach to space operations", Mattis wrote in a July 2017 letter to Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio).

He then revealed that the Department of Defense would release a report later in the day outlining the steps needed to create this new military branch.

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Trump 2020 re-election campaign manager Brad Parscale emailed supporters on Tuesday asking them to vote on a Space Force logo which will be sold later on. Space Force as a presidential marketing campaign, however, is already blasting off.

"This is so stupid", he added.

But he, too, isn't convinced that a Space Force is the answer.

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

When president John F. Kennedy delivered a speech in 1962 explaining why America was sending men to the Moon, he famously said, "There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet".

"Recently our adversaries have been working to bring new weapons of war into space itself", Pence said. "We must have American dominance in space.' And so we will".

Pence and the report noted that Congressional action would be required to establish a new military branch, but said the Trump administration would work with Congress to establish the force and would seek funding for it in its next defense budget request.

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