Mike Pence Says Trump's "Space Force" Will Begin Operating In 2020

Vice President Mike Pence announced on Thursday that the Pentagon has started work on President Trump's proposed new branch of the U.S. military, which is designed to protect national security in outer space.

"Space Force," the first new armed service since 1947, is expected to begin operating in 2020. It won't be created from scratch, though. According to Pence, the administration is just re-organizing existing space programs.

"As President Trump has said, in his words, it is not enough to merely have an American presence in space — we must have American dominance in space. And so we will," Pence said in a speech at the Pentagon. "Space is, in his words, a war-fighting domain just like land and air and sea. 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."

Pence also noted the advancements that countries like Russia and China have already made. "As their actions make clear, our adversaries have transformed space into a war-fighting domain already, and the United States will not shrink from this challenge," he said.

The vice president laid out four specific actions that the Defense Department will take, and the Department itself released a 15-page report with details: 

  • U.S. Space Command: A new unified combatant command for space that will "stablish unified command and control for our Space Force operations, ensure integration across the military, and develop the space warfighting doctrine, tactics, techniques, and procedures of the future."
  • Space Operations Force: An "elite group of joint warfighters, specializing in the domain of space, who will form the backbone of the nation’s newest armed service." The force will "draw from across the military to provide space expertise in times of crisis and conflict."
  • Space Development Agency: A joint organization that will "ensure the men and women of the Space Force have the cutting-edge warfighting capabilities that they need and deserve."
  • Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space: A person appointed to "manage the process of establishing and growing the Space Force." They will be "in charge," which means they can "execute, hold others accountable, and be responsible for the results."

According to the report, the Space Force will allow the Pentagon to "usher in a new age of space technology" in order "to deter and if necessary degrade, deny, disrupt, destroy, and manipulate adversary capabilities to protect U.S. interests, assets, and way of life." Some of the phases will need Congressional approval, though.

As far as the logo for Space Force, the administration apparently wants Trump's supporters to make the decision. On Thursday, his campaign sent an email to subscribers asking for their help in picking a design.