Pence outlines plan for new Space Force by 2020

  • Pence outlines plan for new Space Force by 2020

Pence outlines plan for new Space Force by 2020

Mike Pence said the United States "will always seek peace in space as on the earth" but warned America would not "shrink from this challenge".

"Just as we've done in ages past, the United States meet the emerging threats on this new battlefield", he said.

The Trump administration aims to have the Space Force up and running by 2020, Pence said.

Democratic Senator Bill Nelson has said such a move would "rip the Air Force apart". Trump, the champion of the plan, tweeted: "Space Force all the way!"

"Space Force" is the name given by Donald Trump to the idea of a new, free-standing military department focussed specifically on space. The White House intends to work with lawmakers in submitting legislation by early next year, a senior administration official said, with the hopes of standing up the department as early as 2020.

"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".

The new command and reorganisation "should be budget neutral", Scott Pace, the executive secretary of the National Space Council, said in an interview. "However, going forward there probably will need to be an increase in resources to buy improved capabilities and more warfighters as the Space Force matures".

In addition to a Space Operations Command, Pence described plans for a Space Development Agency that would harness innovation in the field and deter bureaucratic drag.

A new assistant secretary of defense for space: A position that will help transition eventually to a "fully independent Secretary of the Space Force in the years ahead" who will report to Secretary of Defense Mattis.

According to the Washington Post, the first of these steps is to establish a U.S. Space Command.

Pence's remarks was timed to coincide with the release of a Pentagon report outlining the steps needed to create a Space Force, something it does not have the power to do on its own.

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".

He also addressed key points in the Defense Department's upcoming report on on the matter, such as forming an elite group of fighters specialized to operate in the domain as well as a space command operation.

The Pentagon's role in space has been under scrutiny because of a recognition that the United States is increasingly reliant on satellites that are hard to protect in space. "Both nations are also investing heavily in hypersonic missiles that are created to fly up to 5 miles per second and at such low altitudes that they could evade detection by our missile-defense radars". "But history proves that peace only comes through strength".

"The only person that I've heard say this is a fantastic idea is the commander in chief, the president of the United States", Kelly said.