WASHINGTON—Faced with growing competition and threats from Russia and China, the White House on Thursday said it will create the U.S. Space Force as a sixth, separate military service by 2020.
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.
“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,” said Pence. “The time has come to establish the United States Space Force.”
Trump has called for a “separate but equal” space force, a complicated and expensive move that requires congressional approval. On Thursday, Pence said that the administration will work with Congress on the plan, and will outline a budget next year.
Defence Secretary Jim Mattis has endorsed steps to reorganize the military’s space war-fighting forces and create a new command, but has previously opposed launching a pricey, new service. A new branch of the military would require layers of bureaucracy, military and civilian leaders, uniforms, equipment and an expansive support structure.