Vice President Mike Pence has officially laid out the plan to begin creating a military command dedicated to space, establishing the “Space Force” as the sixth branch of the U.S. military.

If everything goes according to this plan, the Space Force would be in place by 2020, making it the first new branch of the military established since the Air Force was formed shortly after World War II.

Pence warned of the advancements that potential adversaries are making and issued what amounted to a call to arms to preserve the military’s dominance in space.

“Just as we’ve done in ages past, the United States will meet the emerging threats on this new battlefield,” he said in a speech at the Pentagon. “The time has come to establish the United States Space Force.”

But the monumental task of standing up a new military department, which would require approval by a Congress that shelved the idea last year, may require significant new spending and a reorganization of the largest bureaucracy in the world. And the idea has already run into fierce opposition inside and outside the Pentagon, particularly from the Air Force, which could lose some of its responsibilities.

During his speech, Pence outlined 4 key elements of the administration’s plan:

  1. a new U.S. Space Command, which “will establish unified command control for our Space Force operations; ensure integration across the military; and develop the space war fighting doctrine, tactics, techniques and procedures of the future,” Pence said.

  2. a military astronaut corps, which Pence called “an elite group of joint war fighters specializing in the domain of space.”

  3. a Space Development Agency, which will research and develop new technologies and “ensure cutting-edge war-fighting capabilities.”

  4. new bureaucratic structures that will define “clear lines of responsibility and accountability to manage the process of standing up and scaling up the United States Department of the Space Force.”

Secretary of Defense James Mattis joined Pence for the announcement, indicating that space is becoming a “contested war-fighting domain and we have got to adapt to that reality”.

Defense Secretary James Mattis on Tuesday threw his support behind the idea of creating a space-focused military command but stopped short of promising the new “Space Force” branch of service that Trump has touted. Currently the U.S. Air Force manages the domain through the U.S. Space Command.

“We need to address space as a developing war-fighting domain and a combatant command is certainly one thing that we can establish,” Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon, adding: “This is a process we’re in.”

The administration is sending out an email request for supporters to vote for their favorite logo to potentially be used for the US Space Force:

It will be fascinating to see which one is selected, if any, and to check how much of the plan has been implemented by 2020. If the rallies are any indication, the move is going to be very popular among Trump’s base.


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