Vice Pres. Pence outlines plan for new Space Force by 2020

Military spacecraft like the Air Force's X-37B space plane could be transferred to the proposed Space Force.                  Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

Military spacecraft like the Air Force's X-37B space plane could be transferred to the proposed Space Force. Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

Aldrin, the second man to step on the moon in 1969, announced on Twitter his support for the president's potential extension of the military.

"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", Pence said.

SHAPIRO: As NPR's Geoff Brumfiel reports, not everyone agrees that a Space Force is the future.

The establishment of a new military branch requires congressional approval.

Form a Space Operations Force made up of an elite group of joint warfighters specializing in the space domain to "form the backbone" of the new service.

The ambitious plan is capped with a White House promise to establish the U.S. Department of the Space Force by 2020, Pence said.

Any new funding and creation of the Space Force will have to be approved by Congress. "The only person you hear promoting this is the president, so it'd be nice to get a little more of a buy-in from the experts and it doesn't seem like we have that". After the Trump administration announced it would close down the Russian consulate in Seattle, the Russian embassy asked its Twitter followers to vote for which USA consulate they'd like to see shuttered in Russia.

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"It is not enough to merely have an American presence in space". On Thursday, Pence said the administration will work with Congress on the plan and will outline a budget next year. In recent weeks, however, Mattis has spoken more positively about the idea.

Currently, the Air Force oversees most space capabilities and there is some push back from officials who worry the Space Force s mission would be duplicative and create turf wars.

"We need to address space as a developing, war-fighting domain and a combatant command is certainly one thing that we can establish", he said.

- As a first step, recommend to President Donald Trump that he approve creation of a U.S. Space Command by the end of this year.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has endorsed plans to reorganize the military's space warfighting forces and create a new command, but has previously opposed launching an expensive separate new service. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), who sits on the House Armed Services Committee, said he was "thrilled" with the plans announced by Pence. We must have American sovereignty in space, "the Republican mogul said".

But just a year ago, Mattis voiced skepticism concerning the need to create a separate Space Force.

A legislative proposal with necessary authorities for the space branch will be filed with the 2020 National Defense Authorization bill, according to DOD's report to Congress.

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