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Pence introduces bold plan to create Space Force by 2020

President Donald Trump speaks to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis as Vice President Mike Pence looks on at the Pentagon, July 20, 2017, following a meeting of the National Security Council. (Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Dominique A. Pineiro/Department of Defense)
August 09, 2018

At a Pentagon event on Thursday, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis introduced Vice President Mike Pence to discuss the vision for the U.S. Space Force proposed by President Trump.

“Space is one of our vital national interests,” Mattis said. “It is becoming a contested warfighting domain.”

Space is now “on par with air, land, sea, and cyberspace domains in terms of it being contested, and it is now a domain in which we must be equally prepared as all of those other domains,” Mattis said. “We’ve got to be able to compete to deter and to win.”

Vice President Pence said: “Space is essential to our nation’s security, prosperity, and our very way of life.”

“The time has come to establish the United States Space Force,” he said, adding that the Trump Administration anticipates the Department of the Space Force will be active by 2020.


The Department of Defense will release a report today “outlining the first stages of our administration’s plans to implement the President’s guidance, and turn his vision into a reality,” Pence said.

The report “reviews the national security space activities within the Department of Defense, and it identifies concrete steps that our administration will take to lay the foundation for a new department of the Space Force,” he described.

Pence added that the report “identifies four actions that we will take to evolve our space capabilities, and they are built on lessons of the past.”

  • The first step calls for the United States Space Command, which will be led by a 4-star general, to “establish unified command and control for our Space Force operations, ensure integration across the military, and develop the space warfighting doctrine, tactics, techniques, and procedures of the future.”
  • The second step calls for space-specialized joint warfighters which will comprise the “backbone” of the Space Force. It will draw on military personnel with space expertise that will support the combatant command.
  • The third step will develop the joint organization, the Space Development Agency, which will pursue “cutting-edge warfighting capabilities.” The agency will overcome restrictive bureaucracy to “focus on innovation, experimentation, and forging technologies of the future.”
  • The fourth step ensures “clear lines of responsibility and accountability” through the Department of the Space Force. It establishes a single civilian position to oversee the growth an expansion of the agency, execute policies and strategies, and ensure accountability. The position, titled Assistant Secretary for Defense of Space, will report to Defense Secretary, and ultimately advance to an independent secretary in the years ahead.

Pence called on Congress to act, and establish the new department by 2020. He said the Trump Administration is working with members of Congress toward that goal, as well as including Space Force funding in next year’s budget.


Pence said that President Trump revived the dormant National Space Council, which Pence is now the chairman of. He added that Trump has signed “three new space policy directives to reorient our space program toward human exploration, unleash America’s burgeoning commercial space companies, and safeguard our vital space assets with new space traffic management policy.”

Pence made it clear that the administration’s ultimate objective is to create a branch “separate from and equal to” the five other military branches.

He noted that Trump recently signed the largest investment in national defense since Ronald Reagan.

The new defense budget includes “new resources for two cutting-edge military communication satellites, and nearly a billion dollars for our space defense programs.” An additional $8 billion has been requested from Congress for space security systems over the next five years.

Under the direction of Mattis, the DoD is also pursuing jam-resistant GPS and communication satellites, as well as missile warning satellites. Pence described it as “only the beginning of meeting rising security threats in space today and in the future.”

Pence echoed President Trump’s remarks on achieving American dominance in space, saying the Space Force will carry the nation to that goal.


“What was once peaceful and uncontested is now crowded and adversarial,” Pence said, describing threats from other nations.

He explained that Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran are a few of the countries that have pursued weapons to jam or disable U.S. satellites. China has already launched missiles capable of hitting their own satellites in space. Russia has designed lasers to disrupt U.S. satellites and space systems, and is creating a missile capable of launching from a moving aircraft into space. Both China and Russia are incorporating anti-satellite attacks into their doctrines.

Pence warned that these capabilities are a demonstration of adversaries’ capability of militarizing space, calling them “unprecedented new dangers.”

“Our adversaries have transformed space into a warfighting domain already,” he said.

Pence vowed that the U.S. will not shrink away from challenges in space posed by adversaries. He said the U.S. will confront the threats head on to defend the nation, and to help build a peaceful future in space.

“Peace only comes through strength,” he said. “The United States Space Force will be that strength in the years ahead.”

Pence said the Space Force will lead the nation forward through Trump’s vision to meet future challenges, “strengthen security, ensure prosperity, and carry American ideals” into space. “

“The American people deserve our very best, and they will have it,” he said.



Watch the entire speech below: