Space Force: Pence details plans for creation of 6th military branch

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For months, US President Donald Trump has been calling a Space Force, a new, free-standing military department, with its own chain of command and uniforms.

The Space Force, however, would still need Congressional approval before any of these plans are set into motion.

Mattis once voiced opposition to creating a new branch of the US military to focus on space-based military assets, saying in a 2017 letter to a lawmaker that would likely "present a narrower and even parochial approach to space operations".

Mike Pence said the USA "will always seek peace in space as on the earth" but warned America would not "shrink from this challenge". And then I said, what a great idea. "We're still putting it together".

The report to be released today represents a critical step toward establishing the Space Force, he said. "Space is, in his words, a war-fighting domain just like land and air and sea".

The plan would increase the visibility of efforts to defend satellites from attack and other space-related tasks.

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. The sky is teeming with spy satellites and other platforms that support government surveillance, communications, weather forecasting and other activities.

The Defense Department is already active in space, of course, with the Air Force in charge.

Defense Secretary James Mattis recently called Pence the "point man" on setting up the Space Force, and suggested establishing a separate space combatant command first.

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During a speech in June, Trump directed the Pentagon "to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a Space Force as the sixth branch of the Armed Forces". "And so we will", Pence said.

Military officials are concerned about threats posed by China and Russian Federation in particular. In 2007, China fired a missile to destroy an aged weather satellite, demonstrating in a dramatic fashion its ability to deploy anti-satellite weapons. The Pentagon now has more than 100 satellites in total, including 31 Global Positioning System satellites that much of the world depends on.

"As their actions make clear, our adversaries have transformed space into a warfighting domain already".

Currently, the Air Force oversees most space capabilities and there is some push back from officials who worry Space Force's mission would be duplicative and create turf wars.

"We must have American dominance in space".

Donald Trump's Space Force as an actual sixth branch of the United States military faces numerous bureaucratic and political obstacles.

"There will be no Millennium Falcon, no Jedis or Wookiees we are sad to report", the Fox News host said.

David Cicilline, who sits in the House of Representatives, asked if "no Republican" would tell the president "what a dumb idea Space Force is". "And is that thrashing going to slow your momentum or is it going to help you achieve your goals and address the real challenges that we have on our plate?" she said at Brookings Institution last week.

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