Vice President Pence lays out plan to create Space Force

Pauline Gross
August 9, 2018

He says advances by China and Russian Federation have increased the need for the U.S.to elevate its space efforts.

That made it clear to the Pentagon that space, long seen as a peaceful domain, was a place where wars could be fought and won.

The Department of Defence plan calls for establishing a Space Development Agency, a Space Operations Force and a Space Command, copying to some extent the existing services and wings of other branches.

WASHINGTON-Faced with growing competition and threats from Russian Federation and China, the White House on Thursday said it will create the U.S. Space Force as a sixth, separate military service by 2020. 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, who regularly touts the Space Force in his rallies to loud cheers from his supporters, tweeted: "Space Force all the way!" after Pence's speech.

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 hailed a new report by the Pentagon on the force as a starting point. What does it include and what would the force do? "But recently, our adversaries have been working to bring new weapons of war into space itself". This person will oversee the Space Force and report to the Secretary of Defense.

In attendance were Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein, and National Guard Bureau Chief Air Force Gen. Sean Lengyel.

"Today the Department of Defense will release a report outlining the first stages of our administration's plan to implement the President's guidance and turn his vision into a reality", Pence said. Supporters at some recent campaign events have also broken out in "Space Force" chants at the mention of the concept.

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"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".

"Creating a new branch of the military is not a simple process", Pence noted.

"Our nation's armed forces have always been the vanguard of advancing American leadership here on Earth and beyond", Pence said.

"Peace only comes through strength", Pence said.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, in a Pentagon address, described the creation of the Space Force as "an idea whose time has come".

Editor's note: This story was updated August 9 to include details of the White House webcast for Pence's Space Force speech.

Star Wars fan and comedy writer Brian Santa Maria is hoping that camping out for Star Wars: Episode I tickets back in 1999 will now qualify him for a Space Force GI Bill.

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