Trump Administration Outlines 'Space Force' Plan, But Obstacles Remain

Mike Pence expected to announce plans for ‘Space Force’ in U.S. military

Vice President Pence announces the Trump Administration's plan to create the U.S. Space Force by 2020 during a speech at the Pentagon on Thursday.

Key among these is the creation of US Space Command, a new organizational body that would draw in members of existing military branches.

Military officials are concerned about threats posed by China and Russian Federation in particular.

He added: "America will always seek peace in space as on the earth but history proves that peace only comes through strength, and in the realm of outer space, the United States Space Force will be that strength in the years ahead".

"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.

When the proposal for a separate force was launched previous year, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resisted it.

But Mattis signaled earlier this week that establishing a combatant command was a possibility.

"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. "This is a process we're in". We are going to have the Air Force and we are going to have the Space Force - separate but equal.

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US intelligence agencies reported earlier this year that Russian Federation and China were pursuing "nondestructive and destructive" anti-satellite weapons for use during a future war.

Pence said this is needed to expedite innovation and lean out red tape.The Air Force has already begun to transform its Space and Missile Systems Center but DoD will "accelerate and extend this transformation to all services by creating a joint Space Development Agency".

Pence said the White House already has been working with Congress to develop the plan. "We'll call it the space force", he said.

The top House Republican and Democrat on an Armed Services Committee panel on strategic forces applauded the plan. He welcomed what he said was a first step in a multi-year process.

"Our Administration will soon take action to implement these recommendations with the objective of establishing the United States Department of the Space Force by 2020", Pence added. A Space Force, dedicated to space the way the Navy is to the sea, would be the first new military service since the Air Force was created in 1947.

"This is a half-baked idea", said Loren Thompson, a defense industry consultant and military analyst at the Lexington Institute. He hailed a new report by the Pentagon on the force as a starting point. "And is that thrashing going to slow your momentum or is it going to help you achieve your goals and address the real challenges that we have on our plate?" she said at Brookings Institution last week.

But the move has faced some signs of skepticism from the Defense Department.

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