Vice President Mike Pence laid out preliminary plans for President Trump’s proposed new "space force" during remarks at the Pentagon on Thursday.
Mr. Trump officially directed the Defense Department to establish this sixth branch of the U.S. military in space in June, saying the space force would ensure American dominance in the final frontier.
"To be clear, the Space Force will not be built from scratch, because the men and women who run and protect our nation’s space programs today are already the best in the world," he said.
Pence announced that the Defense Department will be releasing a report outlining the first stages to "implement the president’s guidance and turn his vision into a reality." He talked about four actions the Defense Department would take on this front, including these new elements:
Space Command: A new unified combat and command structure for space led by a four-star flag officer to "establish unified command and control for space force operations, integration across the military and develop space war fighting doctrine;"
Space Operations Force: An elite group of joint war fighters specializing in the domain of space to "form the backbone" of the new service;
Space Development Agency: A new joint organization to help the Space Force tasked with developing new capabilities and "break[ing] free" from bureaucratic structures; and
A new assistant secretary of defense for space: A position that will help transition eventually to a "fully independent Secretary of the Space Force in the years ahead" who will report to Secretary of Defense Mattis.
While Pence says the the administration aims to have the sixth branch formulated by 2020, the establishment of a new military branch to oversee war fighting in space would require congressional approval.