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Pence calls for creation of Space Force by 2020

09 August 2018

The US has outlined plans to "prepare for the next battlefield" by creating a new "Space Force" to counter the threat of China and Russian Federation.

"The time has come to establish the United States Space Force", Pence said.

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 Space Force would be responsible for a range of crucial space-based USA military capabilities, which include everything from satellites enabling the Global Positioning System (GPS) to sensors that help track missile launches. "But if the White House gets its way, in this special case, there will be a Space Force".

The Space Operations Force will "train, promote, and retain personnel to include engineers, scientists, intelligence experts, operators, strategists, and others", reported ABC.

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While there is broad recognition of the necessity of protecting the USA military's assets in space - with satellites playing a central role in modern everyday life and military operations - there remains vigorous debate about the virtues of creating a separate military branch.

Trump's Space Force plan would go even further, creating a new branch, with both a new member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a political appointee serving as a service secretary.

Earlier this week, Mattis signaled his support for a new Space Command to take place alongside existing commands, but demurred when asked about the creation of a separate service entirely, saying it was a matter for Congress to decide.

Meanwhile, others have argued that it makes sense to form a separate military branch specifically for space.

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. That's a big statement.

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But, earlier this week, Mr Mattis said he is in "complete alignment" with Mr Trump's concerns about USA space assets. "It is going to be something", President Trump announced at a June meeting of the National Space Council.

Pence announced that the Defense Department will be releasing a report outlining the first stages to "implement the president's guidance and turn his vision into a reality".

The US Armed Forces are made up of the five armed service branches: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy. In 2007, China fired a missile to destroy an aged weather satellite, demonstrating in a dramatic fashion its ability to deploy anti-satellite weapons.

Pence and the report noted that Congressional action would be required to establish a new military branch, but said the Trump administration would work with Congress to establish the force and would seek funding for it in its next defense budget request.

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Pence calls for creation of Space Force by 2020