Space Force Is Here: Vice President Pence Announces Sixth Military Branch

Frederick Owens
August 9, 2018

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

The creation of the U.S. Space Command.

The report also calls for the creation of "a Space Operations Force of career space experts who are trained, promoted and retained as space warfighting professionals" to include engineers, scientists, intelligence experts, operators and strategists. He also says that the current system, with the Air Force in charge of military space operations, is not ideal.

The current branches of the USA military are the Navy, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Army and Air Force. "We have the direction from the president and we're underway".

He laid out what the USA perceived as threats from Moscow and Beijing in particular, who are developing new weapons for use in space as well as improving their ability to counter existing systems, such as GPS.

But 56 years later, space plays a vital role in just about every aspect of modern warfare, with many military technologies reliant on a network of sensors and satellites floating in orbit. In June, Trump called for the new branch to be created, despite resistance from the Air Force, which now oversees military space programs.

Senators James Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, and Mike Rounds, R-South Dakota, who are both on the Armed Services Committee, have indicated that they would not be likely to support a separate branch. The first step would be to create a US Space Command by the end of the year, a new combatant command that would have dedicated resources, be led by a four-star general, and be tasked with defending space, the way the Pentagon's Pacific Command oversees the ocean.

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It would require a new headquarters and major organisational changes.

Pence announced that the Defense Department will be releasing a report outlining the first stages to "implement the president's guidance and turn his vision into a reality". That's a big statement.

Currently, there is a 30,000-person, three-star space command that's under the jurisdiction of the Air Force, said ABC News. "It is going to be something", President Trump announced at a June meeting of the National Space Council.

In March this year, Mr Trump's National Space Strategy was said to recognise USA "competitors and adversaries have turned space into a warfighting domain".

Pence says it's needed to ensure America's dominance in space amid heightened competition and threats from China and Russian Federation.

In 2007, China launched a missile that tracked and destroyed one of its own satellites, the vice president said.

Pence and the report noted that Congressional action would be required to establish a new military branch, but said the Trump administration would work with Congress to establish the force and would seek funding for it in its next defense budget request.

Pence cited adversaries' advancements in developing hypersonic missiles, which can travel up to five miles per second and evade missile warning systems.

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