Breaking News

Pence outlines plan for new Space Force by 2020

Vice President Mike Pence announced plans Thursday for a new, separate US Space Force as a 6th military service by 2020 to ensure America's dominance in space amid heightened completion and threats from China and Russia.


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 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; and

Assistant secretary of defense for space: A new 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 the establishment of a new military service would require legislation to be passed by Congress, Pence's strong endorsement could signal new momentum for the creation of the first new branch of the armed forces since the Air Force was established in the 1940s.

Pence's speech was timed to coincide with the release of the Pentagon's report to Congress on the recommended organization and management structure of space components for the Department of Defense.

"Today the Department of Defense will release a report outlining the first stages of our administration's plan to implement the President's guidance and turn his vision into a reality," Pence said.

He said that the report "identifies concrete steps that our administration will take to lay the foundation for a new Department of the Space Force."

The report calls for the creation of a new major unified Combatant Command called US Space Command, which would be akin to the operational commands that oversee US troops in the Middle East and the Indo-Pacific.

Officials say that the new command will likely incorporate existing space-focused organizations such as the US Air Force's Space Command, which oversees some 30,000 military and civilian personnel and which is headquartered at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado.

The report says the new command will "improve and evolve space warfighting," focusing on doctrine, tactics, techniques and procedures.

The Pentagon's report, which was provided to Congress shortly before Pence's speech, also seeks to establish a new acquisition agency, the Space Development Agency, "charged with rapidly developing and fielding next-generation capabilities," not unlike the role the Missile Defense Agency plays in missile defense.

Pence said the new agency would help the Department of Defense "break free from ineffective and duplicative bureaucratic structures."

The report also calls for the creation of "a Space Operations Force of career space experts who are trained, promoted and retained as space warfighting professionals" to include engineers, scientists, intelligence experts, operators and strategists.

No comments