Vice President Pence called Thursday for America to assert its dominance in space as he made a direct appeal to the Pentagon for a sixth military branch serving this goal - and revealed the Trump administration wants to create the "Space Force" by 2020. This force will draw from across the military to provide space expertise in times of crisis and conflict, Pence said. The Deputy Defense Secretary, meanwhile, has predicted that the budget, which will have to take into account military and civilian leaders, uniforms and equipment among other support structures, will run into billions.
In a letter to Congress past year, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis opposed the creation of a new military branch and cautioned against creating "organizational layers at a time when we are focused on reducing overhead and integrating joint warfighting functions".
Trump has strongly championed the idea of creating a space-focused military service with the same stature as the Air Force and the Army, turning his dreams of a "Space Force" into a rallying cry for supporters at political events.
A significant portion of Pence's speech was devoted to arguing that this is the right time for a space force.
Trump said in the East Room of the White House: "My administration is reclaiming America's heritage as the world's greatest spacefaring nation". The Space Command will be led by a four-star general to oversee warfighting operations.
Trump followed up this announcement with the tweet: 'Space Force all the way!' The Trump 2020 reelection campaign then send out a fundraising email asking supporters to vote on their favourite Space Force logo for future Trump merchandise. He spoke of how the idea of a Space Force is "dumb" when NASA already exists, and he asked Trump to "please wait until NASA finds life before you try to kill it".
The U.S. Space Force would also require members from the Department of Defense and a Space Development Agency to streamline the process of acquiring military space equipment.
The idea of a Space Force was first brought before Congress in 2017, said ABC.
Responding to Thursday's outlining of plans for a Space Force, Democrats were withering about Mr Trump's ambitions. Space is vital to the way the United States wages war; the Pentagon's satellites are used for missile-defense warnings, guiding precision munitions, and providing communications and reconnaissance. "It is imperative that the United States adapts its policies, doctrine, and capabilities to protect our interests".
It's not just the Air Force that is getting its toes stepped on.
But just a year ago, Mattis voiced skepticism concerning the need to create a separate Space Force. James said she thinks they're now "stuck because the president announced this by surprise".
At the time, Mr Trump stated he wanted a "separate but equal" service to the Air Force.
First, the report calls for the creation of the U.S. Space Command, a new unified combatant command for space.