Vice President Mike Pence asked Congress to appropriate $8 billion over the next five years for President Donald Trump’s proposed Space Force, during a speech at the Pentagon Thursday morning.
“As President Trump has said in his own words, it is not enough to merely have an American presence in space,” Pence said Thursday. “We must have American dominance in space, and so we will.”
The Space Force is a potential sixth branch of the military that Trump proposed in March. Pence outlined four steps to “evolve our space capabilities” that will be echoed in a Pentagon report set to be released Thursday.
The report calls for the creation of the U.S. Space Command as a first step. It will be a “new command structure for the physical domain of space led by a four-star flag officer … to ensure integration across the military,” Pence said.
The second step is creating an “elite group of warfighters” drawn from men and women in all branches of the military who will specialize in space operations, Pence said.
The third step is creating a joint organization called the Space Development Agency that will focus on giving members of the U.S. Space Force the most cutting-edge technologies without “red tape,” Pence said.
The fourth and final step is creating the position of assistant secretary of defense for space. It will be “a single civilian position reporting to the Secretary of Defense,” Pence said.
The newest defense budget allotted $1 billion for “space defense programs,” Pence said.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis opposed the idea of a Space Force in 2017 but has since changed his tune. (RELATED: Russia: ‘Tough Response’ If US Creates Space Force)
“We are in complete agreement with the president’s concerns about protecting our assets in space,” Mattis told reporters Tuesday, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Trump originally floated the idea of a Space Force during a speech at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station in California on March 13.
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