Trump administration planning to establish 'Space Force' military branch by 2020

Vice President Mike Pence described it as "an idea whose time has come"

Trump administration planning to establish 'Space Force' military branch by 2020

Vice President Mike Pence gestures during an event on the creation of a U. S. Space Force. Picture by: Evan Vucci/AP/Press Association Images

The Trump administration has reiterated its commitment to create a 'Space Force' as the sixth branch of the US army - saying they hope to have it established by 2020.

A new report from the US Department of Defence has listed five 'immediate' actions that can be taken to start establishing the new military branch.

The proposed actions include the creation of a Space Development Agency for "next-generation capabilities for national security space development", and a Space Operations Force "to improve, evolve, and plan space warfighting".

It also encourages the "operating structure and accountable civilian oversight" for the new force to be put in place.

President Trump expressed his enthusiasm for the proposal in a five-word tweet:

The proposals for the new force have been met with criticism, with some of those opposed to the plan suggesting the new military branch will be redundant and expensive.

Others have raised concerns about the potential militarisation of space.

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis previously vocally opposed a proposed 'space corps', saying last year it would mean "additional organisational layers at a time when we are focused on reducing overhead and integrating joint warfighting functions".

'Time has come'

In a speech today, US Vice President Mike Pence said: "Just as in the past when we created the air force, establishing the space force is an idea whose time has come.

"The space environment has fundamentally changed in the last generation - what was once peaceful and uncontested is now crowded and adversarial. "

He added: "For many years, nations from Russia and China to North Korea and Iran have pursued weapons to jam, blind and disable our navigation and communication satellites via electronic attacks from the ground. But recently our adversaries have been working to bring new weapons of war into space itself."

He insisted the US will "always seek peace", but claimed "peace only comes through strength... in the realm of outer space, the United States Space Force will be that strength".