"The time has come to establish the United States Space Force", Pence announced in the Pentagon auditorium filled with more than 350 service members and civilians. More broadly, specialists argue the entire concept of a Space Force as a wholly separate branch of the military is one that many Defense Department officials privately don't support, but that they're being strong-armed by an administration eager to make a lasting mark on USA military doctrine and to further cement American dominance in space.
The creation of a new branch of the military - the first since the Air Force was created in the wake of World War II in 1947 - could require a significant reorganisation of the Pentagon.
Even before Trump's comments, the Defense Department was under orders to formulate a "concept of operations" document for space war fighting.
As a Hugo-winning scifi writer, I feel qualified to say: The United States needs quality health care for its people far more than it needs a "Space Force".
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THE PLAN. According to Pence, the report includes the first four actions the administration will take to establish the Space Force.
The U.S. already has a space-based military footprint.
The Pentagon proposal delivered to Congress Thursday lays out plans to consolidate the Pentagon's war-fighting space forces and make organizational changes to boost the acquisition and development of leading edge technologies.
He warned about developments made by Russian Federation and China claiming that "hypersonic" weapons were nearly a reality. Air Force officials and national security experts have spoken out against the creation of a separate Space Force.
"We have the direction from the president, and we're underway", Mattis said Tuesday.
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U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, in a Pentagon address, described the creation of the Space Force as "an idea whose time has come".
Mattis had previously opposed the creation of a separate military branch focused on space, writing to Rep. Mike Turner of OH in July of 2017 that he did "not wish to add a separate service that would likely present a narrower and even parochial approach to space operations".
"In 2007, China launched a missile which tracked and destroyed one of its own satellites, a highly provocative demonstration of China's growing capability to militarise space".
"Both nations are also investing heavily in what is known as hypersonic missiles created to fly up to five miles per second at such low altitudes that they could potentially evade detection via our missile defence radars". "But we built that architecture in space at a time when it was benign".
"Peace only comes through strength", Pence said. "And in the realm of outer space, the United States Space Force will be that strength".
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In a speech to the Defense Department, he said that countries such as Russia, China, North Korea and Iran are pursuing ways to "bring new weapons of war into space itself".