WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - Vice President Mike Pence has unveiled plans for the creation of a Space Force as the sixth branch of the U.S. military by 2020.
In a speech at the Pentagon, Pence also announced plans to establish a new combatant command -- U.S. Space Command -- as well as a Space Operations Force and a new joint organization called the Space Development Agency.
The announcement follows a seven-week review by the Defense Department of 'the process necessary to establish a space force as the sixth branch of the armed forces.'
A Pentagon report outlining the steps needed to create such a force was released later in the day. It envisages the appointment of an Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space.
Pence said, 'The time has come to establish the United States Space Force' to meet the emerging threats on space, which he described as the new battlefield for the 21st century.
The Vice President made it clear that '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.'
Talking about U.S. adversaries making space a war-fighting domain, Pence cited China launching a missile that tracked and destroyed one of its own satellites in 2007 and Russia working on an airborne laser to disrupt space-based systems.
The Vice President appealed to Congress to 'marshal the resources' needed to establish the new department while the president presents the budget in February next year.
He said before the end of next year, the Trump administration will work with the Congress to enact the statutory authority for the space force in the National Defense Authorization Act.
Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX