ARLINGTON, Va. (CBS News) – Vice President Mike Pence laid out preliminary plans for President Trump’s proposed new “space force” during remarks at the Pentagon on Thursday.
Mr. Trump officially directed the Defense Department to begin the process of establishing this sixth branch of the U.S. military in space in June, saying the space force would ensure American dominance in the final frontier. However, officially adding such a branch would require Congressional approval.
“To be clear, the Space Force will not be built from scratch, because the men and women who run and protect our nation’s space programs today are already the best in the world,” he said.
Pence, who serves as chairman of the re-established National Space Council, announced that the Defense Department will be releasing a report outlining the first stages to “implement the president’s guidance and turn his vision into a reality.” He talked about four actions the Defense Department would take on this front, including these new elements:
— Space Command: A new unified combat and command structure for space led by a four-star flag officer to “establish unified command and control for space force operations, integration across the military and develop space war fighting doctrine.”
— Space Operations Force: An elite group of joint war fighters specializing in the domain of space to “form the backbone” of the new service.
— Space Development Agency: A new joint organization to help the Space Force tasked with developing new capabilities and “break[ing] free” from bureaucratic structures.
— A new assistant secretary of defense for space: A position that will help transition eventually to a “fully independent Secretary of the Space Force in the years ahead” who will report to Secretary of Defense Mattis.
While Pence says the administration aims to have the sixth branch formulated by 2020, the establishment of a new military branch to oversee war fighting in space would require congressional approval. Mr. Trump, however fully endorsed Pence’s speech, tweeting a resounding “Space Force all the way!” after the vice president’s remarks.
What is Space Force?
The proposed sixth branch of the U.S. military will “confront the emerging threats in the boundless expanse of space” according to Pence.
Why do we need a Space Force?
“The U.S. Space Force will strengthen security, ensure our prosperity and it will also carry American ideals into the boundless expanse of space,” Pence said on Thursday. Pence said that the new military branch will be needed in order to protect American national security as the “space environment has fundamentally changed in the last generation.”
“What was once peaceful and uncontested is now crowded and adversarial,” said Pence. 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.”
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