Pentagon Space Force plan at a glance

Military spacecraft like the Air Force's X-37B space plane could be transferred to the proposed Space Force.                  Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

Aldrin, the second man to step on the moon in 1969, announced on Twitter his support for the president's potential extension of the military.

"Our administration will soon take action to implement these recommendations with the objective of establishing the United States Department of the Space Force by the year 2020", Pence added.

"Good Morning, Space Forces!" the tweet reads, followed by the image and a link to the Russian Space Forces website.

Kosal, an expert in military technology, said it is unclear what a Space Force would do beyond the existing roles handled by other military organizations.

"We have been warning for years of the need to protect our space assets and to develop more capable space systems", the House Armed Services Committee's Strategic Forces Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) and Ranking Member Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) said in a joint statement.

US Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday unveiled plans for the creation of a separate "Space Force" as the sixth branch of American military.

Critics view the creation of a Space Force as an unnecessary and expensive bureaucratic endeavour and scoff at comparisons to the establishment of the Air Force in 1947.

"I don't think it's necessary", former astronaut Scott Kelly told CNN Thursday.

The President and Vice President are actively seeking to add a U.S. Space Force to the country, which would make it the sixth branch in the military.

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"To defend the U.S. is not enough to have just an American presence in space".

"It is becoming a contested war fighting domain and we have to adapt to that reality", Mattis said as he introduced Pence.

"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.

Currently, the Air Force oversees most space capabilities and there is some pushback from officials who worry Space Force's mission would be duplicative and create turf wars.

- As a first step, recommend to President Donald Trump that he approve creation of a U.S. Space Command by the end of this year.

A new branch of the military would require layers of bureaucracy, military and civilian leaders, uniforms, equipment and an expansive support structure.

That said, Congress doesn't appear to share Trump's and Pence's enthusiasm for a Space Force. A full-fledged space force would cost significantly more, but no one knows how much yet.

The vast U.S. military divides the globe into various commands, such as Central Command in the Middle East or Indo-Pacific Command in Asia, and so a new Space Command would be on an equal footing with these.