Mike Pence launches plans for Space Force as new military service

Susan Walsh  AP

"In his inaugural address to the nation, President Trump declared that the United States stands 'at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, '" Pence said. Now such issues largely fall under the Air Force.

"Both China and Russian Federation have been conducting highly sophisticated "on-orbit" activities that could enable them to maneuver their satellites into close proximity with ours, posing unprecedented new dangers to our space systems", Pence said.

Mr. Trump officially directed the Defense Department to establish this sixth branch of the US military in space in June, saying the space force would ensure American dominance in the final frontier.

So, before we can "have the Space Force", as Trump put it, the White House will have to convince lawmakers that the USA really needs it. "We must have American dominance in space".

Even before Trump's comments, the Defense Department was under orders to formulate a "concept of operations" document for space war fighting.

In the meantime, White House officials have been working with national security leaders to aggressively move ahead without Congress.

And he said that "we are going to have the Air Force, and we are going to have the Space Force - separate but equal". 2015 China created a separate military enterprise to oversea and priorities its war fighting capabilities in space. This agency will streamline the process of ensuring the Space Force has the tools and technologies it needs when it needs them.

Pence discussed actions China and Russian Federation have taken to militarize the space domain, and how Space Force will meet those challenge. The department would first come together under an assistant secretary of defense for space, Pence said, and later receive a dedicated service secretary as development matured.

Pence said that the Space Force would not be created from scratch, but rather re-organize existing space programs and personnel. 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.

"I'm hereby directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a space force as the sixth branch of the armed forces".

When the idea of creating a space corps within the Air Force was brought before Congress in 2017, Defense Secretary James Mattis rejected the idea as a superfluous "additional organizational and administrative tail" on the military.

In 2007, China blew up a dead weather satellite with a missile, creating a massive debris cloud in orbit. "But history proves that peace only comes through strength", he added.

"It is imperative that the United States adapts its policies, doctrine, and capabilities to protect our interests", the document states. "We particularly appreciate Deputy Secretary Shanahan's leadership on these issues and look forward to the establishment of a much-needed independent Space Force".

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