Published: Fri, August 10, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Pence: Space Force military branch to be established by 2020

Pence: Space Force military branch to be established by 2020

Trump first announced plans to create a new branch of the U.S military service he dubbed the Space Force in June.

Never underestimate the power of the president. Namely, the Outer Space Treaty, to which the USA has been party since 1967, bans states from testing any weapons in outer space, or establishing military bases on the Moon and other celestial bodies.

Hours after Vice President Mike Pence outlined the Administration plans to create the Space Force - a proposed sixth military branch focused on space security- the Trump campaign sent out a mass email asking supporters to vote for a logo for the Space Force.

"The next generation of Americans to confront the emerging threats in the boundless expanse of space will be wearing the uniform of the United States of America", he said, adding that Congress must now act to establish and fund the department. It wasn't immediately clear whether the new force would be a component of the Air Force, as the Marine Corps is to the Navy.

He laid out what the U.S. perceived as threats from Moscow and Beijing in particular, who are developing new weapons for use in space as well as improving their ability to counter existing systems, such as GPS.

Trump likes to win and what he's witnessed in recent years has obviously upset him. "Until we have those same needs in space, the Air Force and the other services are doing all the things we need to do".

To further anger Trump, America became reliant on others up there in the space of space.

"It is becoming a contested war fighting domain and we have to adapt to that reality", Mattis said as he introduced Pence.

Seth Macfarlane, the showrunner for the Sci-Fi comedy The Orville, put it bests when he tweeted, "If "Space Force" were a TV show, the writers would keep pitching on a better title".

Trump wants to regain America's pre-eminence up there and this is his way of doing it. Pence said the Department of Defense will reveal a more detailed report later today.

But he, too, isn't convinced that a Space Force is the answer.

Scott Kelly, a former NASA astronaut, veteran of four space flights and three stays on the International Space Station, is another who believes it is not needed.

The report calls for the creation of a new major unified Combatant Command called US Space Command, which would be akin to the operational commands that oversee US troops in the Middle East and the Indo-Pacific. "President Trump", he said. "I don't think so". To see if it is something we need. Nobody in the Pentagon believes creating a Space Force makes sense.

The Pentagon's report was welcomed by some members of Congress.

"What was once peaceful and uncontested is now crowded and adversarial, today other nations are seeking to disrupt our space based systems and challenge American supremacy in space", Pence said. "And so we will".

It's going to take a lot more than a few grandiose speeches from Trump and Pence in order for the Space Force idea to come to fruition, though.

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