Vice President Mike Pence leads the sixth meeting of the National Space Council beneath NASA's Space Shuttle Discovery at the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center on Aug. 20, 2019, in Chantilly, Virginia. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

United States Space Force

On June 18, 2018, President Donald Trump directed the Pentagon to begin planning for a Space Force: a 6th independent military service branch to undertake missions and operations in the rapidly evolving space domain. The U.S. Space Force would be the first new military service in more than 70 years, following the establishment of the U.S. Air Force in 1947.

Vice President Mike Pence and the Department of Defense released more details about the planned force on Aug. 9, 2018, citing plans to create a separate combatant command, U.S. Space Command, in addition to an independent service overseen by a civilian secretary, all by 2020.

The Department of Defense forwarded a Space Force proposal to Congress, on March 1, 2019, calling for a service that would fall under the Air Force in the same way the Marine Corps falls under the Department of the Navy. The proposal also included the designation of a new position: undersecretary of the Air Force for space, a civilian position that would answer to the secretary of the Air Force and oversee U.S. Space Force. Officials estimated the creation of a new service would cost $2 billion over five years, and require 15,000 personnel.

On Aug. 29, 2019, the Pentagon activated U.S. Space Command, a new U.S. combatant command led by Air Force Gen. John "Jay" Raymond, intended to serve as a precursor to U.S. Space Force. The Pentagon had a U.S. Space Command from 1985 to 2002, but it had a far more limited scope and was not a geographic combatant command. 

Congress has yet to authorize the establishment of a U.S. Space Force.

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