• Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, USA, speak with Maj. Gen. Brian Winski, USA, commanding general, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) & Fort Campbell, near Bastogne, Belgium, on December 16 as part of the events for the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge. The leaders announced today the official creation of the U.S. Space Force, the newest branch of the military in 70 years. DOD photo by Lisa Ferdinando
     Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, USA, speak with Maj. Gen. Brian Winski, USA, commanding general, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) & Fort Campbell, near Bastogne, Belgium, on December 16 as part of the events for the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge. The leaders announced today the official creation of the U.S. Space Force, the newest branch of the military in 70 years. DOD photo by Lisa Ferdinando

Space Force Lifts Off

December 20, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
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Signing of the NDAA later today codifies the military’s new service branch.


For the first time in 70 years, the U.S. military will be adding another service to its organization, the Space Force. The move becomes official with the signing of the S. 1790, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020 by the president later today, announced Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley, USA. The top two military leaders briefed the press at the Pentagon and broadcasted the event online December 20.

“Seventy years ago when we separated the Air Force from the Army Air Corps, we recognized the need for a single service for the air domain,“ Secretary Esper stated, and similarly the military sees that need for space, now that it is a warfighting domain. Maintaining dominance in that domain is the Space Force’s role, he stated.

In the coming weeks, the leaders will establish a timeline and an implementation plan for creating the new military service, the secretary said.

Secretary Esper also thanked Congress for passing the NDAA and for the lawmakers’ strong bipartisan support of the measure. “It is a big step forward,” he said, which will enable the United States to adapt to the challenges of great power competition.

China is the largest focus for the United States, followed by Russia. The military will be weighing its involvements around the world in the future to see how leaders can put resources to the bigger missions against those near-peer adversaries, followed by focusing of resources to the Indo-Pacific region, Secretary Esper explained.

As for engagements in Afghanistan and elsewhere, “none of us want forever wars,” Gen. Milley said. Those involvements are based on our national interests, including ensuring the enduring defeat of ISIS, he clarified. “We have to be realistic…. And weigh the costs and benefits, and that is why we are where we are in certain areas.”

The NDAA gives warfighters a 3.1 percent pay increase, the largest in a decade. The secretary also highlighted funding in the measure to improve the care of military families through improved housing, child care and spousal career licensing measures.

The passage of the NDAA also means continued work on hypersonic technologies, artificial intelligence and directed energy “can go forward,” Secretary Esper said. “The continuing resolution caused great harm to military readiness and interfered with [competing with] China and Russia.”

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