The sixth branch of the military will still require congressional approval. Vice President Mike Pence has detailed a plan to establish Space Force as a new military branch. In a Pentagon speech, he laid out proposals to form a US Space Command (as was previously reported) that would focus on defending space. White House officials aim to establish Space Command by the end of the year and have a four-star general in place to lead it. "Just as we've done in ages past, the United States meet the emerging threats on this new battlefield," Pence said, according to the Washington Post. "The time has come to establish the United States Space Force." Under the plan, the Pentagon will recruit a civilian Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space, and set up an office to develop tech and buy satellites to help the US in space combat. If Congress gives the green light to Space Force, the sixth branch of the military could officially be formed as early as 2020. President Donald Trump ordered the creation of Space Force in June, turning his admitted joke idea into a reality. Some members of Congress last year floated the idea of forming a Space Corps inside the Air Force, which didn't go anywhere after some military officials opposed the move. Space Force is a more expansive project -- eventually, there could be a new member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff representing the new military branch.
In a speech before the Department of Defense at the Pentagon today, Vice President Mike Pence outlined the broad contours of the new Space Force that the Trump administration wants to create as the sixth branch of the U.S. military. Emphasizing the need to both further militarize and privatize space as a new war-fighting domain, Pence stressed that the new branch of the military is targeted for a 2020 implementation date. The administration is pushing for $8 billion in new space spending. While other nations increasingly possess the capability to operate in space, not all of them share our commitment to freedom, private property and the rule of law, said Pence. As we continue to carry American leadership in space, so also will we carry Americas commitment to freedom into this new frontier. Pence cited threats from North Korea, Russia, China and Iran to the safety of the U.S. space program. Newer threats include the Chinese governments 2007 launch of a satellite-destroying missile and the development of hypersonic missiles that can evade U.S. missile defense capabilities. The Chinese government has set up a separate division within its own military to address space as a war-fighting domain, Pence said. Our adversaries have transformed space into a war-fighting domain already. It is not enough to have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space, Pence said quoting the president. What was once peaceful and uncontested is now crowded and adversarial. To advance its goals of creating the new Space Force, the Trump administration had commissioned the Department of Defense to issue a report on the necessary steps to create the new military branch. 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 reorganization of the Pentagon. And some officials within the military and national security communities fiercely oppose the idea. The Air Force in particular is opposed to the idea, because it might lose key responsibilities. The proposal would also need congressional approval. In a report that will be issued later today, the DOD outlined four steps. The first is the creation of a United States Space Command that will coordinate the nations space-fighting capabilities. Pence likened it to the special operations command established in the 1980s that provided unified command and control capabilities for mobilizing terrestrial air, sea and land forces. This new command structure for the physical domain of space, led by a four-star flag officer will… develop the space war-fighting doctrine and tactics of the future. As part of the space plan, the Department of Defense will also create a new space operations force that will be an elite group of joint war fighters specializing in the war-fighting domains of space, according to Pence. Theyll support the space combat and command and carry out space missions. Third, a new joint organization called the Space Development Agency will be created to develop new technologies for the space force. While our adversaries have been busy weaponizing space, we have been bureaucratizing it, Pence said. He pointed to the creation of the intercontinental ballistic missiles and the Navys nuclear fleet as examples of American military innovation and achievement from past initiatives. (Its a good thing he didnt bring up the Air Forces half-a-trillion-dollar drone boondoggle of a new fighter plane.) Finally, the process of creating the new organization will require oversight, which will include the creation of a new civilian position that will report to the secretary of defense, Pence said. That position will be called the assistant secretary of defense of space. Just as weve done in ages past, the United States will meet the emerging threats on this new battlefield, Pence said. The time has come to establish the United States Space Force.