Earlier this week, Mattis signaled his support for a new Space Command to take place alongside existing commands, but demurred when asked about the creation of a separate service entirely, saying it was a matter for Congress to decide.
He also addressed key points in the Defense Department's upcoming report on on the matter, such as forming an elite group of fighters specialized to operate in the domain as well as a space command operation.
"Now is not the time to rip the Air Force apart".
"At a time when we are trying to integrate the department's joint warfighting functions, I do not wish to add a separate service that would likely present a narrower and even parochial approach to space operations", Mattis said in a 2017 letter responding to Rep. Michael R. Turner, R-Ohio, who opposed the congressional effort to create a Space Corps. In June, Trump called for the new branch to be created, despite resistance from the Air Force, which now oversees military space programs.
He laid out what the United States perceived as threats from Moscow and Beijing in particular, who are developing new weapons for use in space as well as improving their ability to counter existing systems, such as GPS.
He said that a new position would be created for an assistant secretary of defense for space.
A new Space Operations Force will train, promote, and retain personnel to include engineers, scientists, intelligence experts, operators, strategists, and others.
The Pentagon sent a report to Congress on Tuesday detailing steps towards meeting Trump's order. He added, "America will always seek peace, in space as on the Earth". ". As President Trump has said, in his words, it's not enough to merely have an American presence in space, we must have American dominance in space".
Pence cited new threats the USA faces in space, particularly from Russian Federation and China. "We have a Navy to protect shipping lanes", she said.
Space is "becoming a contested war-fighting domain", Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Thursday.
The United States is a member of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which bars the stationing of weapons of mass destruction in space and only allows for the use of the moon and other celestial bodies for peaceful purposes.
But the Department of Defense has identified "five actions that can be taken immediately to begin building the Space Force", according to a fact sheet released by the White House on Thursday.
Mattis had previously opposed the creation of a separate military branch focused on space, writing to Rep. Mike Turner of OH in July of 2017 that he did "not wish to add a separate service that would likely present a narrower and even parochial approach to space operations". "We have the direction from the president and we're underway".