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Secretary of Defense James Mattis speaks to press outside of the Pentagon. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, Secretary of Defense General James Mattis expressed support for creating a combat command specifically to cover space as well as the need for the military to address space "as a developing warfighting domain."

The big picture: A Pentagon plan for President Trump's proposed Space Force is expected to be sent to Congress as early as this week. While the president and his defense secretary have not always seen eye-to-eye on foreign policy, the secretary explained, the Pentagon is in "complete alignment" with Trump on defending U.S. assets in space.

"We are going to have to address it as other countries show the capabilities to attack those assets," Mattis said.

The details: Vice President Mike Pence is the "point man" on space, according to the Pentagon, and Mattis and Pence are working together and with congressional committees to finalize the proposed entity.

  • "We are still putting it together... We’ll get it right," Mattis told reporters. "We’ll work it though the Congress. We have the direction from the president, and we are underway."

The Pentagon's proposal is a step towards creating a specific space combatant command that would fall under U.S. Strategic Command — currently, only the Air Force has a Space Command. Although Trump proposed a separate military branch dedicated to defending space assets, only Congress can approve such a move.

The latest: Fox is reporting that Vice President Pence will roll out a plan for the development of a Space Force in a speech at the Pentagon on Thursday.

Go deeper: NASA administrator throws support behind Trump's 'Space Force'

Go deeper

39 mins ago - Health

Study: Common antidepressant guards against COVID hospitalization

A COVID-19 intensive Care Unit in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil on May 27, 2021. Photo: Fabio Teixeira/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The readily available antidepressant fluvoxamine significantly reduced COVID-related hospitalizations, according to a large study published Wednesday.

Why it matters: The clinical trial suggests that a cheap, readily available drug could dramatically reduce serious illness and death when prescribed early.

By the numbers: Catholics, Biden and abortion

Expand chart
Reproduced from Pew Research Center; Chart: Axios Visuals

President Biden — the second Catholic U.S. president — will meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Friday, as some church leaders debate whether to deny Holy Communion to politicians who support abortion rights.

By the numbers: Overall, two in three U.S. Catholics believe Biden should be allowed to take Communion despite his stance on abortion, according to polling by Pew Research Center.

Texas House probes school library books dealing with race and sexuality

Photo: Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images

Texas state Rep. Matt Krause, chair of the Texas House Committee on General Investigating, announced Wednesday that he's initiating a probe into schools' library books, according to a letter sent to the state's education agency and other superintendents.

Why it matters: The probe focuses on books that discuss race, sexuality or "make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex," Krause wrote in the letter.

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