National Space Council sends Space Force proposal to Trump
VP Mike Pence Unclear About Plans for continuing Nuclear Weapons Ban In Space
The National Space Council has sent President Donald Trump a set of recommended actions to initiate the process of establishing the U.S. Space Force.
The six action items are as follows:
1) The creation of a new unified command for space command to be named U.S. Space Command.
2) A legislative proposal that the Pentagon will submit to the White House.
3) A budget request to fund the new service in fiscal year 2020.
4) A review of agencies’ authorities to ensure space commanders are empowered to take action if necessary.
5) The establishment of a Space Development Agency to oversee technology investments.
6) The recommendation is to strengthen the relationship between the intelligence community and the new service.
Vice President Mike Pence, who leads the council, stressed the importance of creating the new military branch.
He noted that congressional authorization by law is required to form a new military branch, and insisted that President Trump will work to make sure the legislative language to create a Space Force makes it into the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020.
Before the council meeting at the National Defense University, Pence talked about the Space Force at a Washington Post event, and explained why the president considers it a burning issue. He said Trump became especially alarmed to learn that Russia and China three years ago consolidated their space activities into a single branch. Pence also did not rule out future deployments of weapons in space if circumstances warranted it.
Pence also touched upon the administration’s plans for weapons in space.
We’re going to protect American interests in space,” Pence responded. “To understand American defense today is to understand the inner relationship between our satellite technology and our aircraft, our ships at sea, our submarines, our warfighters on the ground.”
“The first order of business is ensuring the infrastructure of our satellite technology is protected,” Pence explained, adding that Chinese and Russian anti-satellite weapons continue to proliferate.
Furthermore, Pence was not clear when asked about the continuing status of another long-term treaty related to weapons-in-space.
Pence acknowledged that the 1967 Outer Space Treaty prohibits nuclear weapons from being stationed in earth’s orbit. But he didn’t give a clear “no” when he was asked at a Washington Post-sponsored forum if that should always be the case.
Instead he responded: “I think that what we need to do is make sure that we provide for the common defense of the people of the United States of America,” he replied. “And that’s the president’s determination here.”
The plans for Space Force may be expedited in light of reports that China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran are preparing nuclear electronic pulse attacks from space to cripple the U.S. electrical grid.
“The United States critical national infrastructure faces a present and continuing existential threat from combined-arms warfare, including cyber and manmade electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack, and natural EMP from a solar superstorm,” says a recently published report from the congressional Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack.”
Once largely a concern of a Cold War surprise attack from Russia to shut down American nuclear forces communications, the spread of nuclear weapons has increased the danger of disruptive EMP attack from a nuclear burst in the upper atmosphere.
“Within the last decade, newly nuclear-armed adversaries, including North Korea, have been developing the ability and threatening to carry out an EMP attack against the U.S.,” the report said.
Given Trump’s negotiating style, and concern for national security, it is no wonder he wants every option on the table, including the possibility of nuclear weapons as part of the Space Force arsenal.
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