Buzz Aldrin: Space Force is 'one giant leap in the right direction'

Susan Walsh  AP

It's official: The Trump administration says it will create a sixth branch of the USA military known as the " Space Force" by 2020.

Vice President Mike Pence called Thursday for an established Space Force by 2020.

Mr Trump's plans for a Space Force require approval by Congress, with a budget for the scheme to be outlined next year.

But the Department of Defense has identified "five actions that can be taken immediately to begin building the Space Force", according to a fact sheet released by the White House on Thursday. Current and former top Air Force leaders have said the new branch could create unnecessary organizational headaches and bureaucracy, and even Defense Secretary James Mattis has spoken out against the idea, although Mattis has backed the idea of a space combatant command.

Vice President Mike Pence speaks during an event on the creation of a United States Space Force, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018, at the Pentagon. If Congress agrees to establish it, the Space Force will be the sixth branch of the us military.

"It is becoming a contested war fighting domain and we have to adapt to that reality", Mattis said as he introduced Pence. Instead, the four-step plan calls for consolidating and beefing up satellite defense operations that are already being done under the aegis of the U.S. Air Force and other government entities.

Those, by the way, aren't the first logos designed for Space Force.

The tweet also links to the Russian Ministry of Defense's own Space Forces website.

The White House points to galactic threats from U.S. adversaries, particularly Russian Federation and China, which could develop weapons to jam, blind or destroy satellites that are crucial to communications systems.

"For many years, nations from Russian Federation and China to North Korea and Iran have pursued weapons to jam, blind and disable our navigation and communications satellites via electronic attacks from the ground", Pence said.

"It is not enough to merely have an American presence in space". The Army and the Navy, the first two branches of the USA military, are enshrined in the Constitution.

But, earlier this week, Mr Mattis said he is in "complete alignment" with Mr Trump's concerns about U.S. space assets.

Pence reiterated President Trump's calls for American dominance in space in the face of threats to satellites and other areas from foreign adversaries such as China and Russian Federation.

These new organizations are part of a broad move to restructure the way the US military manages its space operations and technologies.

Air Force officials and national security experts have spoken out against the creation of a separate Space Force. The Trump administration believes the Space Force will allow it to accomplish that goal, and the nation now has at least the beginnings of a plan to bring its fifth military branch to fruition.

What is a Space Force?



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