Pence announces creation of new space military branch

Casey GreeneAug 13, 2018

It would involve defending USA space-based military assets like satellites and new technologies from foreign adversaries.

He noted that the Defense Department will appoint a civilian to the new assistant defense secretary for space post to manage the space force's expansion efforts and report to the DoD secretary.

But Pence was unequivocal in presenting the administration s wish for it to become a reality - preferably by 2020, the end of Trump s term in office.

"The time has come to establish the United States Space Force", Pence said at the Pentagon.

But unlike another one of the president's highly publicized, seemingly improvisational ideas - the see-through, solar-paneled border wall - the Space Force moved a step closer to becoming a real thing this week. Further balkanization of the armed forces will only delay getting to where the Nation needs to be with respect to the security challenges of space.

The military's role in space has been under scrutiny because the United States is increasingly reliant on orbiting satellites that are hard to protect.

Pence reiterated President Trump's calls for American dominance in space in the face of threats to satellites and other areas from foreign adversaries such as China and Russian Federation. Last November, lawmakers shot down a proposal for a "Space Force", and Trump's new pet project could face continued legislative uncertainty. Space Force supporters say that Air Force leaders are simply protecting their bureaucratic and budgetary turf while remaining focused on conventional air superiority.

The US military presently consists of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.

Given the stakes about building a new branch of the military, the issue is likely to be a political football. In recent weeks, however, Mattis has spoken more positively about the idea.

"Maybe, just maybe, we should make sure our people are not dying because they lack health insurance before we start spending billions to militarize outer space", Senator Bernie Sanders tweeted. "Absolutely? Is a Space Force the best, or second-, or third-best way to do that? No". "It s risky to have a leader who can not be talked out of insane ideas".

BRUMFIEL: And Weeden says having the Air Force in charge of space, which is the way it works now, isn't ideal.

Establish a Space Command, a new unified combat and command structure for space. As a first step, Pence today announced a Space Command that oversees satellites across the military.

"It is imperative that the United States adapts its policies, doctrine, and capabilities to protect our interests", the document states.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has endorsed plans to reorganize the military's space warfighting forces and create a new command, but has previously opposed launching an expensive separate new service.

But he, too, isn't convinced that a Space Force is the answer. It is the Presidents opinion that that it requires a new military branch.

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