Trump 2020 to sell 'Space Force' merch

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The Trump administration wants to establish the Space Force as the sixth branch of the USA military by 2020, Vice President Mike Pence said, warning about "threats" from Russia, China, North Korea and Iran.

Outlining details in a visit to the Pentagon for a separate Space Force - proposed by President Donald Trump in June - on Thursday, Pence said the new military service is necessary for ensure America's dominance in space.

"This position will be a new assistant secretary of defense for space and this leader will be key to the critical transition to a fully independent secretary of the Space Force in the years ahead", Pence said. "And in the realm of outer space, the United States Space Force will be that strength".

"China and Russian Federation have been conducting highly sophisticated on-orbit activities that could enable them to maneuver their satellites into close proximity of ours, posing unprecedented new dangers to our space systems", he said.

The force would be created by 2020, Pence said.

Asked about the cost, Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told reporters the Pentagon doesn't have a number yet but will when the legislative proposal is finished by the end of the year.

Rather than building up a Space Force from scratch, the Pentagon will take individuals and units working on space programs in the Air Force and other branches, with the objective of having the "United States Department of the Space Force" by 2020.

Trump's Space Force has stirred plenty of controversy and debate since the President first publicly entertained the idea during a speech in March 2018, when he told USA service members that his "new national strategy for space recognizes that space is a war-fighting domain, just like the land, air and sea".

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China and Russian Federation have had significant achievements in space - they have tested technology to shoot down satellites.

Much of the military's current space power is wielded by the Air Force Space Command, which has its headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

"Creating a new branch of the military is not a simple process", Pence noted.

"It's like they're not even trying to hide how useless even the idea of a space force is", wrote one Twitter user.

On Tuesday, however, the Pentagon chief said he fully supported the idea of creating a new US Space Command.

First, the report calls for the creation of the U.S. Space Command, a new unified combatant command for space.

The report to be released today represents a critical step toward establishing the Space Force, he said.

THE GOAL. According to Pence, "It is not enough to have an American presence in space. But first we have to make a final decision on the design we will use to commemorate President Trump's new Space Force - and he wants YOU to have a say".

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