Details of US Space Force, 6th military branch unveiled

Aug 10, 2018, 00:29
Details of US Space Force, 6th military branch unveiled

Trump's Space Force has stirred plenty of controversy and debate since the President first publicly entertained the idea during a speech in March 2018, when he told us service members that his "new national strategy for space recognizes that space is a war-fighting domain, just like the land, air and sea".

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.

Speaking at the Pentagon on Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence announced sweeping changes that reorganize how the Department of Defense handles space operations, even if Congress does not authorize the establishment of a separate Department of the Space Force.

The Defense Department has to "prepare for the next battlefield", said Pence. "Until we have those same needs in space, the Air Force and the other services are doing all the things we need to do". Now such issues largely fall under the Air Force.

The Pentagon's existing military branches are: the Navy, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Army and Air Force. "We must have American dominance in space".

The current branches of the U.S. military are the Navy, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Army and Air Force.

"The space force is the next and natural evolution of American military strength", Pence said.

The report calls for the creation of a new major unified Combatant Command called US Space Command, which would be akin to the operational commands that oversee US troops in the Middle East and the Indo-Pacific.

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

Trump celebrated the announcement from his golf club in New Jersey, tweeting, "Space Force all the way!" The command would be headed by a four-star general who would "be tasked with defending space", said the Post.

The Pentagon's report, which was provided to Congress shortly before Pence's speech, also seeks to establish a new acquisition agency, the Space Development Agency, "charged with rapidly developing and fielding next-generation capabilities", not unlike the role the Missile Defense Agency plays in missile defense. And Russia is working on an airborne laser to disrupt space-based systems, he added.

Finally, the report calls for clear lines of responsibility and accountability to manage the process of establishing and growing the Space Force, including the appointment of an assistant secretary of defense for space, the vice president said. "And the United States will not shrink from this challenge", he said. It leaves no doubt that the Pentagon is on board with the Space Force plan despite earlier reservations.

In just two years the USA plans to have a new military programme geared towards space. Nobody in the Pentagon believes creating a Space Force makes sense. This will be an "elite group of joint war fighters specializing in the domain of space", and it will draw its ranks from men and women from across the military, according to Pence.

But just a year ago, Mattis voiced skepticism on the need to create a separate Space Force. The White House is advocating for Congress to invest an additional $8 billion in space security systems over the next five years.

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