by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Mikhael Smits reports for the Washington Free Beacon on the latest information emerging from Vice President Mike Pence about a potential new U.S. Space Force.
Pence sat for an interview with the Post’s Robert Costa. Pence told Costa, “We are in a very real sense a nation of pioneers.” Pence shared the administration’s view that “it’s essential that America remain as dominant in space from a national security perspective as we are on the earth.”
Asked if he worried about sparking an arms race, Pence noted that the space race, begun during the Cold War, had always been about security. “From the time Sputnik was launched into orbit, we’ve militarized space,” he said. “Space is a war fighting domain, whether it’s China, Russia, or other nations the world.” To preserve space “as a domain where peace will reign will require military presence.”
Pence pointed to “broad” bipartisan support for the Space Force prior to Trump’s proposal of the sixth service branch. The last time a new branch was added was 1947. The Air Force, previously the Army Air Forces, became independent through the 1947 National Security Act.
In 2015, China and Russia both took measures to develop separate spaces of their own. Some in Congress and the Pentagon have supported doing the same, but the idea has long languished. “Somewhere along the way we lost our vision and passion for leadership in space,” Pence said. The idea has gained traction following Trump’s surprise speech on the topic in March.
When pressed by Costa about whether Congress would support the effort, Pence was optimistic, pointing to the idea’s bipartisan history.