Donald Trump and Mike Pence in space. Although it feels as if there should be an echo with this announcement, space might be just the place for these two. Check out this photo of the vice president. Perhaps, he was dreaming of spaceships and great adventures.
It did appear that the president was, indeed, going to go through with his space force program. His shadow, the vice president gave a rare smile. In a late summer visit to the Pentagon, Pence said, according to CNN:
‘This new command structure for the physical domain of space, led by a four-star flag officer, will 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.’
Senior Representative Adam Smith (D-WA) has served on the House Armed Services Committee. Representative Smith was not alone in his skepticism. He released a statement that read:
‘I am opposed to President Trump’s proposal for a Space Force. I am concerned that his proposal would create additional costly military bureaucracy at a time when we have limited resources for defense and critical domestic priorities.’
Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said this about the president’s “space force,” according to YouTube:
‘Is not a fundamentally flawed idea if the US Air Force, which currently manages all the US GPS and space capabilities, feels overwhelmed and can no longer handle the load as technology use in space evolves.’
The plan was for Pence to take a trip to the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida. He will also go back to the Pentagon to explain Trump’s Space Force program.
The Space Command will be combined with the Central Command, which already manages the Middle East and the Special Operations Command. The later is responsible for the Special Operations Forces, which is a group of elite forces.
Trump hoped that the new command will be a source of expanded “warfighting” skills in space. He wants it to be similar in structure to the Special Operations Command. That group functions under the U.S. Special Operations Forces, like the elite Army Special Forces and the U.S. Navy SEALs.
During Pence’s last visit to the Pentagon, he went into some detail about Trump’s vision of a Space Command. It would be responsible for the Space Force. A new branch of the military has not happened since the 1940’s, and that required an act of Congress. The commander-in-chief found a loophole to crawl through. He did not call it a new service, but instead, he called it a new command.
Pence went to NASA in mid-December. While he was there, he noted that he will be in charge of “The World’s Premier Gateway to Space.” The formal announcement would come during a satellite launch by Elon Musk’s launch of SpaceX, which is a “space transportation service.”
According to Pentagon officials, the draft proposing a Space Force under the auspices of the Air Force is nearing completion. In addition, they said the relationship would be distinct, similar in structure to the U.S. Marine Corps and the Department of the Navy.
At first, the Air Force thought the Space Force would cost $13 during the five-year roll-out period. The Deputy Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan claimed that the cost could fall under $5 billion. Of course, few people thought that the war in Afghanistan would top out in the mid-trillions.
Vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Paul Selva, said there are 18,000 military and civilian personnel currently involved in the space operation. They are responsible for 140 satellites. They will not be included in the Space Command.
Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.