Pence Will Reveal Trump's 'Space Force' Plan Today
10 August, 2018, 00:28 | Author: Gregory Stephens
"Space is essential to the nation's security and prosperity".
"The time has come to establish the United States Space Force", he said, repeating Trump's call for Congress to invest an additional US$8 billion in U.S. space security systems over the next five years.
In terms of practical considerations, Pence mentioned a couple of activities that will be folded into the space force. The last time the US created a new uniformed military service was in 1947, when the Air Force was launched after World War II.
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.
But Mattis signaled earlier this week that establishing a combatant command was a possibility. "This is a process we're in".
The US is a member of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, a document which represents the basic legal framework of global space law. "And we're going to have to address it as other countries show a capability to attack those assets".
The U.S. intelligence agencies reported earlier this year that Russian Federation and China are pursuing "non-destructive and destructive" anti-satellite weapons for use during a future war.
Mr Trump - who tweeted "Space Force all the way!" on Thursday - and his supporters point to how adversaries such as China and Russian Federation are increasingly deploying satellites as proof that action is needed.
"The Space Force will not be built from scratch", Pence said during his speech.
The top House Republican and Democrat on an Armed Services Committee panel on strategic forces applauded the plan.
"Men and women of the [DoD] have pioneered the most groundbreaking discoveries that have literally revolutionized space in our hours of need", he said.
According to Pence, Trump hopes to get that process started by asking for funding in his annual budget request next year.
"Now is not the time to rip the Air Force apart".
Any proposal to create a new service would need approval by Congress, where the ambitious proposal might never leave the launch pad because of opposition by Democrats and fiscal hawks in the GOP.
"This is a half-baked idea", said Loren Thompson, a defense industry consultant and military analyst at the Lexington Institute. The report was to be released last week by Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan but the White House asked for last minute revisions. "If that same view prevails in Congress, then it isn't going to happen". He said Beijing and Moscow have been developing missiles, lasers and other technologies with the aim of targeting United States satellites.
Its creation however is not a done deal, as it needs to be approved by Congress, and the concept has met with some skepticism from lawmakers and defense officials who are wary of the cost and added bureaucracy.
Responding to Thursday's outlining of plans for a Space Force, Democrats were withering about Mr Trump's ambitions.
Under the plan, the Pentagon will recruit a civilian Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space, and set up an office to develop tech and buy satellites to help the USA in space combat.
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