‘Space Force is the next and the natural evolution of American supremacy in space’
VANDENBERG — Vice President Mike Pence said plans to create a space branch of the military are under development during a speech at Vandenberg Air Force Base on Wednesday.
“Our nation’s armed forces have always been at the vanguard of advancing American leadership beyond the bounds of Earth – and the Space Force is the next and the natural evolution of American supremacy in space,” said Mr. Pence to an enthusiastic crowd of servicemembers and their families.
“The first American rockets in space were launched by the military. The first American satellites to orbit the Earth performed reconnaissance missions – and many of them were launched from right here at Vandenberg,” he said.
On June 18, 2018, President Donald Trump directed the Pentagon to begin planning for a military branch to undertake missions and operations in space.
Mr. Pence visited Vandenberg as part of a three-stop tour of California. He spent Wednesday morning at Naval Air Station Lemoore and ended the day in San Diego.
During his visit Mr. Pence took a tour of Vandenberg’s Combined Space Operations Center.
The center reports to the Joint Force Space Component Commander and executes the operational command and control of space forces to global objectives. It also monitors commercial satellites.
Mr. Pence compared Vandenberg’s successful missile defense system test in March to “a bullet hitting a bullet.”
Department of Defense officials said a target intercontinental ballistic missile was shot from the Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Interceptor missiles were shot from Vandenberg.
“You made history again this past March, when the 30th Space Wing here at Vandenberg, working closely with the Missile Defense Agency, completed nearly a decade of work and successfully intercepted a test intercontinental ballistic missile…sending a clear message to adversaries across the globe that the United States military stands ready to stop any threat to our homeland,” he said.
Mr. Pence praised Vandenberg’s commercial partnership with SpaceX and said the Trump administration is committed to unleashing the power of the space industry.
“We’ve cut red tape. We are making it easier than ever for our private partners to launch into space – including from right here at Vandenberg … Rich guys love rockets and we’re gonna let them build em,” he said.
Mr. Pence’s wife, Second Lady of the United States Karen Pence, also spoke at the event. She praised the strength of military families and said they are an important support system for service members.