Vice President Pence lays out plan to create Space Force

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The debate is over.

The Pentagon's role in space has been under scrutiny because of a recognition that the United States is increasingly reliant on satellites that are hard to protect in space.

Vice President Mike Pence announced on Thursday a plan to make changes to how the Department of Defense runs its space operations, with the eventual goal of creating a Space Force as the sixth branch of the military.

President Donald Trump's "Space Force" idea is no joke. The US Space Force will become the sixth arm.

He warned about developments made by Russian Federation and China claiming that "hypersonic" weapons were nearly a reality.

The Defense Department has to "prepare for the next battlefield", said Pence. Now such issues largely fall under the Air Force. "Our adversaries already have transformed space into a war fighting domain and the United States will not shrink from this challenge".

Pence announced the new branch with a disturbing bit of imperialism. Only Congress has the authority to establish a new branch of the military-something that hasn't happened since the U.S. Air Force was founded in 1947. He hailed a new report by the Pentagon on the force as a starting point. "This 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".

As a Hugo-winning scifi writer, I feel qualified to say: The United States needs quality health care for its people far more than it needs a "Space Force".

"Space Force all the way!"

President Donald Trump holds up the space policy directive that he signed during a National Space Council meeting in Washington, June 18, 2018. He said the administration was working with Congress on legislation.

The Republicans face a battle to hang on to control of the Senate and House of Representatives in November's mid-term elections. It wasn't immediately clear whether the new force would be a component of the Air Force, as the Marine Corps is to the Navy.

"Third, the report calls for a new joint organization - the Space Development Agency - that will ensure the men and women of the Space Force have the cutting-edge warfighting capabilities that they need and deserve", he said.

But if you have visions of joining the military - now or under a future Space Force - and strapping on a jet pack, NPR's Geoff Brumfiel is here to crush your dreams. The Department will build a legislative proposal for congressional consideration as a part of the Fiscal Year 2020 budget cycle.

"Creating a new branch of the military is not a simple process", Pence noted. U.S. Space Command will be responsible for directing the employment of the Space Force.

Congress' most ardent proponents of a separate service for space commended Pence's remarks. He added, "America will always seek peace, in space as on the Earth".