Vice President Mike Pence announced Thursday that the Trump Administration expects to launch a 6th military branch, the Space Force, by 2020.
The Vice President, speaking to the Defense Department, told military leaders that the President has already begun the process of obtaining an official approval for the United States Space Force, which will be an offensive and defensive force against other countries seeking to conquer the space around planet Earth.
Russia, China, and North Korea, the Vice President explained, "bring new weapons of war into space itself," making an American Space Force, distinctly separate from the United States Air Force which is currently responsible for handling military operations in the upper atmosphere and beyond.
There will even, reportedly, be an "elite" force of its own within the Space Force — a sort of "Space SEALs," as Slate described it.
“As their actions make clear, our adversaries have transformed space into a warfighting domain already and the United States will not shrink from this challenge,” Pence said, acknowledging Defense Department leadership who collaborated on a report analyzing the need for and potential success of a dedicated military branch in space. “Under President Trump’s leadership, we will meet it head on — to defend our nation, and build a peaceful future here on Earth and in space.”
“President Trump and I are grateful to Secretary Mattis for this department’s diligence in preparing this report, and our administration will soon take action to implement these recommendations, with the objective of establishing the United States Department of the Space Force by 2020,” he continued.
Founding a new military branch from whole cloth will not be easy, and Congress has a competing plan to the White House's that acknowledges a need for a space-faring military force but tasks existing military branches, like the Air Force and Navy, with handling futuristic weaponry and space military training.
The idea for a Space Force began life as part of a Trump stump speech in March, but quickly metastasized into a full Trump administration program. In June, President Donald Trump directed the Defense Department and Secretary of Defense James Mattis to "begin the process" of expanding the military's reach into outer space. Those preparations reportedly include a bill that the Trump administration will send to Congress, officially founding the Space Force itself (at which point it can begin recruitment and possibly composing its theme song).
Despite the legislative hurdles, Trump administration officials seem bullish on the idea. Gen. Mattis, one of the idea's initial critics, expressed his support Thursday after an enthusiastic speech from the V.P., and Donald Trump took to Twitter to whip up excitement of his own.
Space Force all the way!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 9, 2018