US Vice President Mike Pence has laid out an ambitious plan that would begin creating a military command dedicated to space and establish a "Space Force" as the sixth branch of the US military as soon as 2020, the first since the Air Force was formed shortly after World War II.
In what was at first considered to a be a joke, President Donald Trump announced in June 2018 that he is directing the Pentagon to create an independent service branch called a "Space Force", that would ensure American dominance in space.
But Pence was unequivocal in presenting the administration's wish for it to become a reality - preferably by 2020, the end of Trump's term in office.
Critics argue that Trump's Space Force would be stepping on the toes of the U.S. Air Force Space Command, which now oversees the nation's military operations in space.
Trump marked Pence's announcement with a tweet: "Space Force all the way!" It will literally be called Space Force.
But the intent is not to militarize space; rather it is to avert a potentially disastrous conflict, said Todd Harrison, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
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However, Dodge added, one driving force to create a Space Force now instead of sometime in the future is political. In other words - this will be Trump's Space Force.
Why? Pence cited China and Russian Federation as potential threats to American satellites that warranted the creation of defense systems as a response.
The new branch will be separate from, but equal to, the five other branches, he said.
"Although 'Space Force" won't happen, it's risky to have a leader who can not be talked out of insane ideas, ' Schatz said on Twitter.
No Republican is willing to tell Trump it's a "dumb idea", added the lawmaker from Hawaii.
"This idea seems to have come from one person who is not a space of military expert".
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Meanwhile, others have argued that it makes sense to form a separate military branch specifically for space.
Defence Secretary Jim Mattis has endorsed steps to reorganize the military's space warfighting forces and create a new command, but has previously opposed launching a pricey, new service.
Foster conducive domestic and worldwide environments for space development.
But the monumental task of standing up a new military department, which would require approval by a Congress that shelved the idea previous year, may require significant new spending and a reorganisation of the largest bureaucracy in the world.
A Pentagon report included interim steps toward the creation of such an organisation. In other words, instead of waiting until there is a need for a USA military presence in space, the Space Force would beat other countries to the punch, paving the way. "It is imperative that the United States adapts its policies, doctrine, and capabilities to protect our interests".
Pence's speech was timed to coincide with the release of the Pentagon's report to Congress on the recommended organization and management structure of space components for the Department of Defense. These would include a secretary of the Space Force, which will eventually reach the same status as the secretary of the Army or Navy and have a seat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
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Also part of the plan is a United Combatant Command-level Space Command, which will have the task to "improve and evolve space war fighting".