THE US Pentagon is about to present its plans to get President Trump’s ‘Space Force’ off the ground. And it could become reality within months.

According to DefenceOne, the US Defence Department plans to establish three of the four elements necessary to create a formalised militarised space service. This includes a new combat command, a new equipment procurement agency and a corps of ‘warfighters’ drawn from existing services with experience in missile and space operations.

Such moves are all within the Pentagon’s power, DefenceOne says, despite US Congress having yet to sign off on the controversial concept pitched by President Trump.

But one vital element is not within President Trump’s reach: creating the financial management and facilities support network necessary to make Space Force fully functional.

The Pentagon now plans to spend the rest of the year developing a “legislative proposal for the authorities necessary to fully establish the Space Force”.

A first taste of this plan is contained within a 14-page draft report expected to be handed to members of Congress later this week.

“The Department of Defence is establishing a Space Force to protect our economy through deterrence of malicious activities, ensure our space systems meet national security requirements and provide vital capabilities to joint and coalition forces across the spectrum of conflict,” DefenceOne reports the draft report as reading. “DoD will usher in a new age of space technology and field new systems in order to deter, and if necessary degrade, deny, disrupt, destroy and manipulate adversary capabilities to protect US interests, assets and way of life … This new age will unlock growth in the US industrial base, expand the commercial space economy and strengthen partnerships with our allies.”


The news of the fast-tracking of Space Force comes as a former secretary of the US air force expressed doubts at a Brooking Institution function today.

“It is a virtual certainty that it will be a huge undertaking that will consume a lot of time, effort, thinking,” Deborah Lee James said.

“I do not believe we should have a separate space force”.

James said she feared the project could quickly become buried in expensive bureaucratic minutiae.

“The myriad of details which people joke about, the academies, the uniforms and what not, those may seem trivial but they are details that need to be worked out,” she said.

And the wealth of resources needed to support a sixth branch of the military could otherwise have been spent on actual warfighting equipment.

“I do not know how much it would cost to set up a separate military service but if anyone thinks you’re going to do it on the cheap I will tell you that I’ve never seen anything like this done on the cheap,” James said.

As the previous secretary of the US air force, James is free to voice her concerns.

But they echo those being expressed more quietly by many existing senior Pentagon commanders.

Chief among the dissenters is the US air force, which is the current operator of most of the US space defence assets. The US Army also has an extensive Missile Defence Agency.

Both face losing control of these specialist forces if Space Force becomes an independent arm of the US military.


President Trump first voiced his ambition to create a new armed service dedicated to combat in space during his 2016 election campaign. In March, he declared he was now turning that into reality.

“I am hereby directing the Department of Defence and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a space force as the sixth branch of the armed forces,” Trump told the National Space Council last month.

“Our destiny beyond the Earth is not only a matter of national identity but a matter of national security,” he said.

Just as the existing US Special Forces Command oversees equipment and personnel drawn from the likes of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and air force, many believe Space Command should do the same thing.

It will draw together expert units from every service already focused on what’s going on above our atmosphere, in areas such as ballistic missile defence and satellite operations.

“The Department will recommend that the President revise the Unified Campaign Plan to create the new US Space Command by the end of 2018 and evaluate the need for any additional personnel, responsibilities and authorities,” the report says.

“Similar to Special Forces personnel provided by all military services, the Space Operations Force will be composed of the space personnel from all Military Services, but developed and managed as one community.”

But Trump’s vision is more ambitious: with Congressional approval, he wants space capabilities stripped out of existing services and bundled under their own leadership.