National Space Council boosts Space Force plan

National Space Council meeting
Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao flank Vice President Mike Pence during a meeting of the National Space Council at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. (C-SPAN Video)

The National Space Council today pushed forward recommendations to raise the profile of military space activities, at first through a combined U.S. Space Command and eventually through a separate Space Force.

Vice President Mike Pence, the council’s chairman, argued that more military resources will have to be directed toward space, in part due to challenges from China and Russia.

“Today, space is fundamentally different than it was a generation ago,” he said. “What was once desolate and uncontested is increasingly crowded and confrontational. And today, other nations are seeking to disrupt our space-based systems and undermine our economic and military might as never before.”

Pence highlighted potential ranging from threats from anti-satellite weapons and airborne laser systems to on-orbit satellite interference and hypersonic weapons.

At a forum presented by The Washington Post just before today’s council meeting, Pence underscored the Trump administration’s view that preserving U.S. assets in space “will require a military presence.”

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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