Mike Pence Unveils Plans For New Space Force Military Branch By 2020

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US Vice-President Mike Pence on Thursday (Aug 9) unveiled details of plans to create a Space Force which would be the sixth branch of America's military, saying the "time has come" to prepare for "the next battlefield".

Finally, the report calls for clear lines of responsibility and accountability to manage the process of establishing and growing the Space Force, including the appointment of an assistant secretary of defense for space, the vice president said.

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.

Much of the military's current space power is wielded by the Air Force Space Command, which has its headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

A new Space Operations Force will train, promote, and retain personnel to include engineers, scientists, intelligence experts, operators, strategists, and others. The report calls for the creation of Space Command, Department of Space Force, an elite Space Operations Force, and an agency that will field weapons for the new Space Force.

Trump celebrated the announcement from his golf club in New Jersey, tweeting, "Space Force all the way!"

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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"Being someone who has 20 years in the military, and NASA, I don't think there's a need for a sixth branch of the military".

When the proposal for a separate force was launched a year ago, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resisted it.

Congress would have to approve a new military service, and lawmakers have been divided on the idea.

Pence's speech alone won't establish the Space Force; setting up a new military branch requires congressional approval, The Post noted. That's a big statement. He added, "America will always seek peace, in space as on the Earth". Republican U.S. Representative Mike Rogers, a member of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, said the move would bolster national security.

Citing Russia and China, he said that for years USA adversaries have "pursued weapons to jam, blind and disable our navigation and communication satellites via electronic attacks from the ground". "Today, other nations are seeking to disrupt our space-based systems and challenge our supremacy as never before".

The 45th President first floated the Space Force idea as a part of his national security strategy back in March, stating that this would fulfil his original vow to ensure the US's dominance in the space race. "In fact, China claimed to have made its first successful test of a hypersonic vehicle just last week".

A 15-page Pentagon report released shortly after Pence spoke explained that the Department of Defense would "usher in a new age of space technology" and "deter, and if necessary degrade, deny, disrupt, destroy, and manipulate adversary capabilities to protect USA interests, assets, and way of life". "But history proves that peace only comes through strength", he added.