Mike Pence outlines plan for new US Space Force by 2020
The American vice president said America had to ensure its dominance in space amid new threats from China and Russia.
US vice president Mike Pence has announced plans for a new, separate American Space Force as sixth military service by 2020.
Mr Pence said the service is needed to ensure America’s dominance in space amid heightened threats from China and Russia.
He added that while space was once peaceful and uncontested, it is now crowded and adversarial.
President Donald Trump has called for a “separate but equal” space force.
American defence secretary Jim Mattis endorsed plans to reorganise the military’s space fighting forces and create a new command, but has previously opposed launching an expensive separate new service.
Any proposal to create a new service would require congressional action.
Space Force all the way!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 9, 2018
Mr Pence said: “Now the time has come to write the next great chapter in the history of our armed forces, to prepare for the next battlefield where America’s best and bravest will be called to deter and defeat a new generation of threats to our people, to our nation.
“The time has come to establish the United States Space Force.”
Mr Trump marked Pence’s announcement with a tweet: “Space Force all the way!”
Mr Pence said that the US administration will work with congress on the plan, and will outline a budget next year.
A new branch of the military would require layers of bureaucracy, military and civilian leaders, uniforms, equipment and an expansive support structure.
The proposal delivered to congress lays out plans to consolidate the Pentagon’s war fighting space forces and make organisational changes to boost the acquisition and development of cutting-edge technologies.
The Pentagon’s role in space has been under scrutiny because of a recognition that the United States is increasingly reliant on satellites which are difficult to protect in space.
Satellites provide communications, navigation, intelligence and other services vital to the military and the economy.
The US intelligence agencies reported earlier this year that Russia and China are pursuing “non-destructive and destructive” anti-satellite weapons for use during a future war.
And there are growing worries about cyber attacks that could target satellite technology, potentially leaving troops in combat without electronic communications or navigation abilities.