The Space Force is happening and will be a reality by 2020, Vice President Mike Pence told the Pentagon in a speech on Thursday.
As The Independent reports, Donald Trump announced in June that he would be directing the military to create a sixth branch of the armed forces: the Space Force, which would join the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Marines, and Air Force. It would be the country’s first new military branch since 1947.
As New York Magazine reported at the time, the announcement caught the Pentagon off-guard, as Trump had made the announcement without consulting with any military leaders.
“We are going to have the Air Force and we are going to have the Space Force — separate but equal. It is going to be something. So important.”
Speaking today to military leaders, Pence re-iterated what the administration sees as the need for the new military branch. Specifically, Pence said that space was at one time “peaceful and uncontested,” but is now “crowded and adversarial.” That’s largely due to threats from China and Russia.
“Trump is committed to preparing for the next battlefield where America’s best and bravest will be called to deter and defeat a new generation of threats to our people and our nation… The time has come to establish the United States.”
— The Hill (@thehill) August 9, 2018
In a tweet, Trump himself reiterated what Pence said.
Space Force all the way!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 9, 2018
As it turns out, however, the Space Force may not necessarily be a sure thing.
For starters, as Vox reports, the 2020 defense budget lies in the hands of Congress, not the Executive Branch. And not everyone in Congress is on board. In fact, last November, Congress voted down a legislative proposal to create the new military branch.
Similarly, Hawaii Democrat Senator Brian Schatz is convinced the Space Force isn’t going to happen, even if Congressional Republicans aren’t willing to admit it, according to The Hill.
“The VP just announced a new military branch – a ‘Space Force,’ because no [Republican] is willing to tell POTUS it’s a dumb idea. Although ‘Space Force’ won’t happen, it’s dangerous to have a leader who cannot be talked out of crazy ideas.”
Similarly, according to The Washington Times, some within the Pentagon aren’t convinced of the need for the Space Force either. The conservative newspaper says that the Pentagon is mostly against the idea, but that leaders, not willing to speak on the record, say they’re being “strong-armed” by the Trump administration into creating the new military branch.