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.Vice President Mike Pence told a Pentagon audience that the plan fulfills President Donald Trump's vow to ensure America's dominance in space - a domain that was once peaceful and uncontested that has now become crowded and adversarial.
In June, President Donald Trump said he was directing "the Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a Space Force as the sixth branch of the armed forces", during a speech at a meeting of the National Space Council.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis - who had earlier opposed the idea - had issued a preliminary report calling for the creation of an assistant secretary of defense for space, establishment of a special operations force that would be trained for space combat and formation of the Space Development Agency that would focus on innovation and new technologies. Pence also mentioned Space Force will call for the creation of a leadership position, which will report to the Secretary of the Defense.
"The time has come to establish the United States Space Force".
Critics, even those who agree with the strategic significance of space, argue that creating a Space Force is "an unnecessary and expensive bureaucratic endeavor", as Reuters put it.
"President Trump wants a SPACE FORCE - a groundbreaking endeavour for the future of America and the final frontier", read the email from the Trump campaign.
Democratic Senator Brian Schatz said on Twitter that Space Force "won't happen".
US military policy in space is already covered by the US Air Force.
Rep. Doug Lamborn has also championed the idea of creating a new military branch for space.
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According to the vice-president, Russian Federation is developing airborne lasers "to disrupt our space-based systems" while China has the capability to destroy satellites with missiles.
Actions by US adversaries make it clear that space is already a warfighting domain, the vice president said.
Pence said the White House already has been working with Congress to develop the plan. We are in complete alignment with the president's concern about protecting our assets in space that contribute to our security, to our economy.
But just previous year, Mattis voiced skepticism on the need to create a separate Space Force.
Pence portrayed the change as a response to foes' potential aggression rather than any offensive USA military effort.
Each of the logos features the words "Space Force".
He said that the report "identifies concrete steps that our administration will take to lay the foundation for a new Department of the Space Force".
"We must have American dominance in space, and so we will", Pence said.
THE GOAL. According to Pence, "It is not enough to have an American presence in space".