Mike Pence launches plans for Space Force as new military service
The US vice-president Mike Pence has announced plans for a new, separate US Space Force as a sixth military service by 2020.
Pence said it is needed to ensure America’s dominance in space amid heightened completion and threats from China and Russia.
In a speech at the Pentagon in Washington DC, he said that while space was once peaceful and uncontested, it is now crowded and adversarial.
Donald Trump has called for a “separate but equal” space force.
The defense secretary, Jim Mattis, has endorsed plans to reorganize the military’s spacewar fighting forces and create a new command, but has previously opposed launching an expensive separate new service.
Any proposal to create a new service would require congressional action.
After the president’s announcement in June, there was a sceptical reaction from Bill Nelson, the Democratic senator for Florida, home of Cape Canaveral.
He tweeted: “The president told a US general to create a new Space Force as 6th branch of military … which generals tell me they don’t want. Thankfully the president can’t do it without Congress because now is NOT the time to rip the Air Force apart. Too many important missions at stake.”