Pence: Space Force military branch to be established by 2020

Donald Trump's 'Space Force' meets resistance in Pentagon, insiders say

Many of these items will require changes to USA law.

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. It was only seven weeks ago that President Trump directed DoD to begin the process.

The proposed sixth branch of the US military will "confront the emerging threats in the boundless expanse of space" according to Pence.

What's changed since then is that Trump has become increasingly focused on the subject and concluded that a new military branch is needed. At that point, the subject of a service branch for space had already been the subject of hot debate within the military and Congress. Leaders of the Air Force, which now owns existing military operations regarding space, have argued that the service does not have the resources to support a separate space service.

"What was once peaceful and uncontested is now crowded and adversarial", said Pence. "We're still putting it together".

Thursday's announcement coincided with a report detailed by the Pentagon on how the newest branch of the U.S. military is set to work.

Military leaders have said repeatedly that modern warfare depends on space.

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"We are going to have the Air Force and we are going to have the Space Force, separate but equal". It leaves no doubt that the Pentagon is on board with the Space Force plan despite earlier reservations. In a letter to Congress a year ago, Secretary James Mattis said he opposed the idea of a separate force, arguing that it would "likely present a narrower and even parochial approach to space operations" and said that a "properly integrated approach is better for carrying out this mission".

Pence's Pentagon trip coincides with the release of a Department of Defense report to Congress on recommendations for the Space Force.

While Pence says the the administration aims to have the sixth branch formulated by 2020, the establishment of a new military branch to oversee war fighting in space would require congressional approval.

Military officials are concerned about the threats posed by China and Russian Federation in particular.

But, earlier this week, Mr Mattis said he is in "complete alignment" with Mr Trump's concerns about U.S. space assets. Heather Wilson said an event last month at The Washington Post. "But we built that architecture in space at a time when it was benign. So now, we have to adjust and make sure that we can defend what we do in space and deter anyone from challenging us there".

But the plan to create an entirely new branch of the service has rankled some in the Pentagon, who say it is unnecessary, and that the Air Force has for years looked after the nation's interests in orbit.

The steps towards establishing a Space Force are creating a Space Development Agency, a Space Operations Force and a United States Space Command, the White House added. "Next February, in the president's budget, we will call on the Congress to marshal the resources we need to stand up the Space Force, and before the end of next year, our administration will work with the congress to enact the statutory authority for the space force in the National Defense Authorization Act", he said.

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