Pence Previews ‘American Dominance in Space’ with New Force

President Donald Trump directed the Pentagon to establish sixth branch of the military by 2020

Vice President Mike Pence described President Donald Trump’s vision Thursday for achieving “American dominance” beyond the Earth’s atmosphere through establishing the U.S. Space Force by 2020 to combat “the growing security threats emerging” there.

“But as commander-in-chief, President Trump’s highest priority is the safety and security of the American people,” Pence said during a speech at the Pentagon.

“While too often previous administrations all but neglected the growing security threats emerging in space, President Trump stated clearly and forcefully that space is, in his words, a war-fighting domain just like land and air and sea.

“And just as we’ve done in ages past, the United States of America, under his leadership, will meet the emerging threats on this new battlefield with American ingenuity and strength, to defend our nation, protect our people, and carry the cause of liberty and peace into the next great American frontier.”

The Space Force would be the sixth branch of the military and the first new one since the Air Force was created in 1947. Pence, who is chairman of the National Space Council, said the “time has come to write the next great chapter in the history of our armed forces” and face “a new generation of threats” head-on.

Trump signed an executive order in June 2017 reviving the National Space Council, which began under former President George H.W. Bush but disbanded in 1993. The president directed the Department of Defense (DOD) to begin establishing the Space Force in mid-June and aim for completion in 2020.

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Creating the Space Force includes accelerating the pace of space technology initiatives, establishing a space development agency for “developing and fielding new next-generation capabilities for national security space development” and creating a United States space command “to improve, evolve, and plan space war-fighting,” White House officials announced Thursday. It also requires establishing a space operations force of experts.

Trump recently signed “the largest investment in our national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan” with the new defense budget, Pence said. The budget included providing resources for innovative military satellites and nearly $1 billion in funding for space defense programs.

“And today we renew the president’s call on the Congress of the United States to invest an additional $8 billion in our space security systems over the next five years,” Pence said. “As President Trump has said, in his words, it is not enough merely to have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space. And so we will.”

Pence cited the growing threats that Russia and China pose to U.S. space dominance as reasons for why the Space Force must be established.

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“The space environment has fundamentally changed in the last generation. What was once peaceful and uncontested is now crowded and adversarial,” Pence said. “Today, other nations are seeking to disrupt our space-based systems and challenge American supremacy in space as never before.”

Pence said that Russia, China, Iran and North Korea have “pursued weapons to jam, blind and disable our navigation and communication satellites via electronic attacks from the ground” and bring “new weapons of war into space itself.”

“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,” Pence warned. “Under President Trump’s leadership, we will meet it head on and defend our nation and build a peaceful future here on Earth and in space.”

Although America “will always seek peace in space as on the Earth,” Pence said that history has proven 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 concluded.

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