Mike Pence, the US vice president, has announced plans to create a standalone “Space Force” by 2020, becoming the sixth branch of America’s military.
Mr Pence said the “time has come” for America to “prepare for the next battlefield” and secure America’s “dominance” among the stars.
‘Space Force’ is the name given by Donald Trump to the idea of a new, free-standing military department focussed specifically on space. Currently such issues largely fall under the Air Force.
Mr Trump – who tweeted “Space Force all the way!” on Thursday – and his supporters point to how adversaries such as China and Russia are increasingly deploying satellites as proof that action is needed.
There is a fear that America has become increasingly reliant on satellites for communication, navigation and intelligence and could be left exposed if the equipment is attacked.
However detractors insist setting up a standalone military department would be bureaucratic and counter-productive. James Mattis, the US defence secretary, has previously voiced such concerns – though now appears more supportive.
Mr Pence said in a speech on Thursday: “Now the time has come to write the next great chapter in the history of our armed forces, to prepare for the next battlefield where America’s best and bravest will be called to deter and defeat a new generation of threats to our people, to our nation.”
He warned: “China and Russia have been conducting highly sophisticated on-orbit activities that could enable them to manoeuvre their satellites into close proximity of ours, posing unprecedented new dangers to our space systems.”
At the same time a plan was submitted to Congress explaining the Trump administration’s proposals for creating Space Force.
There are currently five branches to the US armed forces: The Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy. Space Force would become the sixth.
The first step would be creating a US Space Command by the end of the year. The Trump administration would then seek funding and the legal approval to create a standalone military department next year.
Congress has the ultimate sign-off – meaning that the US president alone cannot create Space Force. The proposals are likely to trigger a political battle on Capitol Hill.
The White House said in a statement that “President Trump knows that space is integral to our American way of life and economic prosperity, and is a vital domain for national defence.”
Article Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/08/09/trump-administration-calls-space-force-established-2020/