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White House Describes Military 'Space Force,' Aims To Create It By 2020
09 August 2018, 11:42 | Devin Moran
Mike Pence expected to announce plans for ‘Space Force’ in U.S. military
"In the realm of outer space, the United States Space Force will be that strength in the years ahead".
Given the stakes surrounding building a new branch of the military, the issue is likely to be a political football.
Vice President Pence described the White House's plans for a Space Force, a sixth branch of the USA military that would be responsible for operations in outer space, in a speech on Thursday.
The Pentagon report, however, included a plan to create a unified combatant command, known as the U.S. Space Command, by the end of 2018, according to a copy reviewed by Reuters. Currently, a three-star Space Command falls under the Air Force, headquartered at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado responsible for 30,000 personnel worldwide. The idea would be similar to how special operations forces from across the military services are distributed to various commands.
US Vice President Mike Pence: "Just as we've done in ages past, the United States meet the emerging threats on this new battlefield".
Key among these is the creation of US Space Command, a new organizational body that would draw in members of existing military branches.
The defense secretary, Jim Mattis, has endorsed plans to reorganize the military's spacewar fighting forces and create a new command, but has previously opposed launching an expensive separate new service. 2015 China created a separate military enterprise to oversea and priorities its war fighting capabilities in space.
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 would require a new headquarters and major organisational changes.
Pence's remarks was timed to coincide with the release of a Pentagon report outlining the steps needed to create a Space Force, something it does not have the power to do on its own. That's a big statement.
President Donald Trump, who regularly touts the Space Force in his rallies to loud cheers from his supporters, tweeted: "Space Force all the way!" after Pence's speech. "It is going to be something", President Trump announced at a June meeting of the National Space Council.
Editor's note: This story was updated August 9 to include details of the White House webcast for Pence's Space Force speech.
The U.S. military now has 77 satellites in orbit that could be vulnerable to potential attack from adversaries like Russian Federation and China that have taken aggressive postures in space. In 2007, China destroyed one of its dead weather satellites with a missile.
"By 1945, the American military had almost 30 times the number of planes and 85 times the number of pilots and support crews compared to just six years earlier", he said.
Pence cited adversaries' advancements in developing hypersonic missiles, which can travel up to five miles per second and evade missile warning systems.
He also said Russian Federation and China were developing weapons, such as hypersonic missiles, to launch attacks from space here on Earth.
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