In remarks delivered at the Pentagon on Thursday, Vice President Pence unveiled a plan for the establishment of an independent military arm, responsible for outer space.
President Trump announced the initiative for a new Space Force in March as part of his national security strategy.
Explaining his rationale for the creation of a sixth service branch and calling on Congress to adequately fund the new proposal, Pence told journalists:
“To be clear: the Space Force will not be built from scratch . . . Across this department and our intelligence agencies, there are literally tens of thousands of military personnel, civilians and contractors operating and supporting our space systems — and together, they are the eyes and ears of America’s warfighters around the globe.”
In references to Russia and China, both of which have developed weapons for use in outer space, Mr. Pence also stated the development of the new Space Force was necessary to thwart “adversaries” who have “transformed space into a war fighting domain already.”
Under the White House’s ambitious new plan to expand the military into outer space, Pence outlined the branch’s four major new responsibilities. On the forefront of the new arm of the military the creation of a Space Development Agency tasked with generating and fielding the force. This chore will rely heavily on joint assistance with the U.S. Air Force’s Space and Missile Center to achieve superiority in space.
Secondly, the Department of Defense is expected to create a Space Operations Force liaise with existing military command structures.
In a third new element of the Space Development Agency, the support structures required to build around the Space Force would be created and require congressional approval.
Last, the new Space Force would be led by a four-star general directing a newly-created agency, the U.S. Space Command.
Outlined in a 15-page report, the proposed Space Force skirted around cost. Estimated in the “billions” by Deputy Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan, the total price tag for the new Space Force is expected to be announced in November.
The development of the new Space Force is believed to take one year or more.
Editor’s note: The fifth paragraph of this article has been corrected
[Reuters] [AP] [Photo courtesy AFP/Getty Images via Wired]