Space Force will be sixth branch of United States military, Pence says


Vice President Mike Pence has announced plans for a new, separate U.S. Space Force as sixth military service by 2020.

The Pentagon proposal delivered to Congress Thursday lays out plans to consolidate US warfighting space forces and make organizational changes to boost the acquisition and development of technologies.

The Pentagon is moving toward fulfilling President Trump's request to establish a Space Force, in what would be the first new branch of the military in more than 70 years.

In attendance were Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein, and National Guard Bureau Chief Air Force Gen. Sean Lengyel.

As the US continues to stave off competition and threats from both Russian Federation and China, the White House has decided it will create the US Space Force as a sixth, separate military service by 2020.

Given the stakes surrounding building a new branch of the military, the issue is likely to be a political football.

When the proposal for a separate force was launched past year, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resisted it. Then, on Thursday afternoon, the Trump/Pence team sent out an email asking for readers to vote on one of six proposed logos for Space Force that will be used on a "new line of gear".

"To be clear: the Space Force will not be built from scratch, because the men and women who run and protect our nation's space programs today are already the best in the world", the vice president said.

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Any proposal to create a new service would require congressional action.

This year, Gen. John Hyten, the commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, said that "rather than going through the difficulty of new organizational constructs, I believe the leadership we have now can execute the missions that we need to". The report was to be released last week by Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan but the White House asked for last minute revisions.

"What was once peaceful and uncontested is now crowded and adversarial", the vice president continued.

Trump, the champion of the plan, tweeted: "Space Force all the way!". Those satellites handle intelligence and surveillance, as well as command, control and communication, among other things.

Much of the push to formalize an off-planet branch of the USA armed forces is motivated by space investment by Russian Federation and China.

"This is a process we're in", Mattis noted.

In a letter to a United States congressman, he said he did "not wish to add a separate service that would likely present a narrower and even parochial approach to space operations", adding it would create extra bureaucracy and cost.

Despite the announcement, there has been some backlash from other politicians and former astronauts about the need for such a "Space Force".