Mike Pence launches plans for Space Force as new military service
10 August, 2018, 00:25 | Author: Essie Rivera
The U.S. "Space Force" will become a reality by 2020, Vice President Mike Pence and Defense Secretary James Mattis promised Thursday, laying out an ambitious timeline to set up the first new branch of the armed forces in almost 75 years and making the case that Americans must prepare for space threats from Russia, China, North Korea and other hostile actors.
"This report is a step in a multi-year process that we think will result in a safer, stronger America", they said.
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.
"We need to address space as a developing war fighting domain and a combatant command is certainly one thing that we can - we can establish", Mattis told reporters.
Pence portrayed the change as a response to foes' potential aggression rather than any offensive USA military effort.
One of the arguments in favor of devoting more resources to a Space Force or Space Command is that American rivals like Russian Federation and China appear increasingly ready to strike US space-based capabilities in the event of a conflict.
"As their actions make clear, our adversaries have transformed space into a warfighting domain already, and the United States will not shrink from this challenge", he said.
The Department of Defense is expected to release a report later today "outlining the first stages of our administration's plan to implement the president's guidance and turn his vision into a reality", Pence said.
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When the proposal for a separate force was launched past year, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resisted it. 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.
"I would assume it's billions", he said. In a letter to Congress past year, 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".
"Eventually, it'll settle out, but you will go through years of thrashing".
"It will be fit for objective is what I can assure you, but I don't have all the final answers yet, we're still putting that together", he said. "I don't think so".
He said the countries "have been conducting highly sophisticated on-orbit activities that could enable them to manoeuvre their satellites into close proximity of ours, posing unprecedented new dangers to our space systems". Its creation reflects a strategic military shift to emphasize the defense of USA satellite systems that provide the navigation, communication and Earth-observation functions that Americans employ every day.
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. And there are growing worries about cyberattacks that could target satellite technology, potentially leaving troops in combat without electronic communications or navigation abilities. Pence has been the administration's point man for space issues and the White House decided he should be the administration official rolling out the DoD report. "And so we will", Pence said.
US Vice President Mike Pence: "Just as we've done in ages past, the United States meet the emerging threats on this new battlefield".
"Both nations are also investing heavily in what are known as hypersonic missiles created to fly up to 5 miles per second at such low altitudes that they could potentially evade detection by our missile defense radars", Pence said.
In a speech at the Pentagon, Pence the new Space Force would be established by 2020. "But we can do this within the U.S. Air Force".
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