Mattis once voiced opposition to creating a new branch of the United States 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".
The Pentagon's plan, released Thursday, identifies China and Russian Federation as "strategic competitors" that are "explicitly pursuing space war fighting capabilities to neutralize U.S space capabilities in a time of conflict". Thursday's plan, which requires authorization and funding from Congress, would develop forces to defend satellites from attack and other space-related tasks.
The creation by 2020 of a space force, a desire by President Donald Trump, who wants the US to "dominate space", announced US Vice President Mike Pens. "The only person you hear promoting this is the president, so it'd be nice to get a little more of a buy-in from the experts and it doesn't seem like we have that".
"America will always seek peace in space, as on the Earth".
Pence also asked Congress to approve an additional budget of $ 8 billion over the next 5 years.
Defence Secretary Jim Mattis has endorsed steps to reorganize the military's space-warfighting forces and create a new command, but he previously opposed launching an expensive new service.
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"Creating a new branch of the military is not a simple process", Pence noted. The Air Force is now in charge of the USA military's space capabilities.
"We are glad that the Pentagon is finally taking these steps in enhancing our space strength", Reps.
Social media users have been quick to mock the idea of a new military branch.
A new branch of the military would require layers of bureaucracy, military and civilian leaders, uniforms, equipment and an expansive support structure.
The vice president also said the White House was working on establishing bipartisan support.
The latest example came from former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey on Friday, who claimed Trump "raffled off" the Space Force.
Mr Trump marked Pence's announcement with a tweet: "Space Force all the way!" The Air Force, after all, is run by pilots, not astronauts. This group would be the core of an eventual Space Force, to be created as a separate military service.
WEEDEN: I don't quite think the Space Force is the answer.