Pence: First Steps of “Space Force” Military Branch Underway
Friday, August 10, 2018
The announcement was made at the Pentagon alongside Defense Secretary James Mattis. According to Axios, Pence said, "establishing the Space Force is an idea whose time has come."
Pence outlined the plan, saying the program is set to be complete by 2020 and would include the creation of the U.S. Space Command, led by a four-star general, USA Today reports.
President Trump first announced the program in late June.
Only Congress has the power to create military branches, meaning congressional approval would be needed before the Space Force can officially be established.
"Space Force all the way!" Trump tweeted just after noon on Thursday.
"Space Force" quickly became a trending hashtag on Twitter, with thousands of reactions, most mocking or opposing the program, flooding in. Dozens criticized the high price tag of the program, saying the funding would be better used for more pressing projects including rebuilding efforts on Puerto Rico or helping citizens of Flint, Michigan access clean water.
"A few initial questions about the proposed Space Force: which companies stand to profit from a major military expansion into space? What are the public-private partnerships that could emerge? And who inside Congress is planning to shepherd this, and why?" asked Robert Costa, political reporter for the Washington Post, on Twitter.
"The VP just announced a new military branch - a “Space Force,” because no R 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. Elect D’s to check POTUS power," tweeted Democratic Hawaiian Senator Brian Shatz.
Peter Alexander, Chief Whitehouse Reporter for NBC News, tweeted a former astronaut's skepticism of the program: “The only person I’ve heard say this is a fantastic idea is the Commander-in-Chief,” says retired astronaut Capt. Mark Kelly, about the proposed establishment of a U.S. Space Force.
TV network Comedy Central mocked the announcement, tweeting: "Americans: Please give us health care. Mike Pence: Did you say “Space Force?"
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