Published: Fri, October 26, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

'Good chance' of launching Space Force next year: President Trump

'Good chance' of launching Space Force next year: President Trump

Vice President Mike Pence Tuesday made a push for the Trump administration's proposal to set up a Space Force as the nation's sixth military service, promoting the idea at a meeting of the National Space Council after discussing it with Washington Post reporter Robert Costa during an event sponsored by that newspaper.

Russian Federation has linked the proposed formation of the US Space Force and its intended withdrawal from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty to the Trump administration's intention to dominate space.

The head of the US Air Force said in September that creating a Space Force would cost about US$13 billion (S$18 billion) for a force of 13,000 people in the first five years.

An American "Space Force" proposed by President Trump will take shape within two years and bring military forces and civilian space security authorities under one roof, the White House has said.

Pence said the administration would work with Congress, starting next year, on drafting a law creating an independent space force by 2020.

"And the reality is, the more we look at our competitors in space - chiefly among them are China and Russian Federation - we see the deployment of technologies by both of those countries - anti-satellite technologies", Pence said.

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However, the joint Space command will be formed on the model of the already existing special operations Command, said Pence.

Pence said the 1967 treaty "does ban weapons of mass destruction in space, but it doesn't ban military activity".

In in 2015, China essentially stood up its own space force, he said. The treaty states that not only are nuclear weapons banned from outer space, but the moon and other celestial bodies are to be used for peaceful purposes only: this means no military bases, practices, or weapons testing.

Congress must approve the White House plans.

Pence said: 'Space is a war-fighting domain, just like the land, air and sea, and America will be as dominant there as we are here on Earth'.

"The time has come to write the next great chapter in the history of the armed forces of the United States, to turn the page to an evolution of our armed forces, to meet the challenges and opportunities on that limitless frontier", Pence said.

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