Photo: AFP/Saul Loeb
Photo: AFP/Saul Loeb

After some questions as to whether the Pentagon was dragging its heels on the initiative, US Vice-President Mike Pence has officially announced the establishment of a Space Force, which would be the sixth branch of the US military.

President Trump couldn’t contain his excitement on Twitter.

Pence reiterated the president’s burning desire for the armed-forces addition in his announcement, citing Trump’s insistence that space is a battleground no different from air and sea.

“As President Trump has said, in his words, it is not enough to merely have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space. And so we will,” Pence said. “Space is, in his words, a war-fighting domain just like land and air and sea.

“History proves that peace only comes through strength, and in the realm of outer space, the United States Space Force will be that strength in the years ahead,” he added.

Some were quick to pour cold water on the idea, noting that Congress would have to approve the creation of a new military branch in the 2020 military budget. That might be a tall order, seeing as it nixed a proposal for a “Space Corps” last November.

But Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ apparent U-turn on the issue might change some lawmakers’ minds. After he reportedly voiced opposition to the idea, Mattis is now saying that a report to be released on Thursday would reflect a “clear-eyed view” of the project, adding that space is a “vital national interest,” according to The Hill.

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