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Space Force will be sixth branch of USA military, Pence says

10 August 2018

Critics view the creation of a Space Force as an unnecessary and expensive bureaucratic endeavor and scoff at comparisons to the establishment of the Air Force in 1947.

"The time has come to establish the United States Space Force", Pence said. This person will oversee the Space Force and report to the Secretary of Defense. China created its own space force in 2015.

The White House said in a statement that "President Trump knows that space is integral to our American way of life and economic prosperity, and is a vital domain for national defense".

"We need to address space as a developing, war-fighting domain and a combatant command is certainly one thing that we can establish", he said.

Pence identified interim steps to creation of the Space Force in two years.

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Trump first broached the idea in March, reviving a debate that began nearly 20 years ago about whether the Pentagon's space activities should be moved to a new command.

"It's like they're not even trying to hide how useless even the idea of a space force is", wrote one Twitter user.

"Third, the report calls for a new joint organization - the Space Development Agency - that will ensure the men and women of the Space Force have the cutting-edge warfighting capabilities that they need and deserve", he said.

The Pentagon's plan, released Thursday, identifies China and Russian Federation as "strategic competitors" that are "explicitly pursuing space war fighting capabilities to neutralize U.S space capabilities in a time of conflict".

The United States is a member of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which bars the stationing of weapons of mass destruction in space and only allows for the use of the moon and other celestial bodies for peaceful purposes.

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"This report is a step in a multi-year process that we think will result in a safer, stronger America".

On Tuesday, however, the Pentagon chief said he fully supported the idea of creating a new US Space Command. This force will draw from across the military to provide space expertise in times of crisis and conflict, Pence said.

THE GOAL. According to Pence, "It is not enough to have an American presence in space".

Establishing a new military service geared at space would be a massive undertaking and require action from Congress both to establish the service and provide funding.

Mattis had previously opposed the creation of a separate military branch focused on space, writing to Rep. Mike Turner of OH in July of 2017 that he did "not wish to add a separate service that would likely present a narrower and even parochial approach to space operations". In June, Trump called for the new branch to be created, despite resistance from the Air Force, which now oversees military space programs.

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Space Force will be sixth branch of USA military, Pence says