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Pence lays out plans for Trump's Space Force program at Pentagon
09 August 2018, 11:42 | Erica Roy
Pence: Space Force Will Be Independent Service by 2020, Include Elite Operators
U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence told a Pentagon audience that the plan fulfils U.S. President Donald Trump's vow to ensure America's dominance in space - a domain that was once peaceful and uncontested that has now become crowded and adversarial.
Currently, the Air Force oversees most space capabilities and there is some push back from officials who worry Space Force's mission would be duplicative and create turf wars.
A new Space Operations Force will train, promote, and retain personnel to include engineers, scientists, intelligence experts, operators, strategists, and others.
US Vice President Mike Pence: "Just as we've done in ages past, the United States meet the emerging threats on this new battlefield". John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, that he opposed "the creation of a new military service and additional organizational layers at a time when we are focused on reducing overhead and integrating joint warfighting functions".
Any proposal to create a new service would need approval by Congress, where the ambitious proposal might never leave the launch pad because of opposition by Democrats and fiscal hawks in the GOP. But Mattis said that creating a new combatant command for space, such as one that governs the Pentagon's Special Operations, "is certainly one thing that we can establish".
Their remarks were timed to coincide with the release of a Pentagon report outlining the steps needed to create a Space Force, something it does not have the power to do on its own. That's a big statement. "It is going to be something", President Trump announced at a June meeting of the National Space Council.
In addition to a Space Operations Command, Pence described plans for a Space Development Agency that would harness innovation in the field and deter bureaucratic drag.
So, before we can "have the Space Force", as Trump put it, the White House will have to convince lawmakers that the USA really needs it.
A new branch of the military would require layers of bureaucracy, military and civilian leaders, uniforms, equipment and an expansive support structure.
Pence cited adversaries' advancements in developing hypersonic missiles, which can travel up to five miles per second and evade missile warning systems.
"It is becoming a contested war fighting domain and we have to adapt to that reality", Mattis said as he introduced Pence. "But history proves that peace only comes through strength", he added.
Among its principles, it bars states party to the treaty from placing weapons of mass destruction in Earth orbit, installing them on the Moon or any other celestial body, or otherwise station them in outer space.
Official death toll still 131 in Indonesia quake
With hospitals and clinics also affected, numerous injured have had to be treated in the open air or in makeshift clinics. Authorities are still searching through the rubble left behind on Lombok Island, still hoping to find survivors.