Pence outlines US Space Force plan for ‘next battlefield’

Pence outlines US Space Force plan for ‘next battlefield’

Pence outlines US Space Force plan for ‘next battlefield’

President Donald Trump's re-election team seized on his administration's push for a "Space Force" on Thursday, pledging to sell branded merchandise to his supporters.

"We have not done cost estimation yet", Shanahan told reporters at the Pentagon, adding that he expects he won't have a more concrete number until November.

Mattis has endorsed plans to reorganize the military's space forces and create a new command, but had previously opposed launching an expensive separate new service.

Today Vice President Mike Pence travelled to "military central", the Pentagon, and laid out an ambitious plan to establish a "Space Force" as the sixth branch of the United States military.

But, it faces one big obstacle - the Space Force would need approval from Congress before it could become a new military branch.

Defense Secretary James Mattis recently called Pence the "point man" on setting up the Space Force, and suggested establishing a separate space combatant command first.

Democratic Senator Brian Schatz said on Twitter that Space Force "won't happen".

"History proves that peace only comes through strength, and in the realm of outer space, the United States Space Force will be that strength in the years ahead", the veep said during a speech at the Pentagon.

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"As their actions make clear, our adversaries have transformed space into a war-fighting domain", he said.

Several lawmakers have already hit back at the move as being costly and unnecessary.

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 civilian space agency, NASA, discontinued the Space Shuttle program in 2011, leaving the Russian Soyuz as the only class of spaceships capable of delivering human crews to the International Space Station (ISS).

"This idea seems to have come from one person who is not a space of military expert".

The Space Force would be responsible for a range of crucial space-based USA military capabilities, which include everything from satellites enabling the Global Positioning System (GPS) to sensors that help track missile launches. "We have a Navy to protect shipping lanes", she said.

It's a venture that had an excited President Trump tweeting: "Space Force all the way!".

"Our nation's armed forces have always been the vanguard of advancing American leadership here on Earth and beyond", Pence said.

The Pentagon report recommended that for now the unified command be in the hands of the Air Force, which currently oversees some of the most critical space-based capabilities. He also says that the current system, with the Air Force in charge of military space operations, is not ideal.

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