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

Trump, Biden strategies revealed in final ad push

Data: Bully Pulpit Interactive; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

President Trump is pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into Facebook ads on the Supreme Court and conservative judges in the final stretch of his campaign, while Joe Biden is spending over a million on voter mobilization, according to an analysis by Axios using data from Bully Pulpit Interactive.

The big picture: Trump's Facebook ad messaging has fluctuated dramatically in conjunction with the news cycle throughout his campaign, while Biden's messaging has been much more consistent, focusing primarily on health care and the economy.

How NASA and the Space Force might fare under Biden

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Joe Biden hasn't gone out of his way to talk about outer space during his presidential campaign. That could be bad news for NASA's exploration ambitions, but good news for the Space Force.

The big picture: NASA faces two threats with any new administration: policy whiplash and budget cuts. In a potential Biden administration, the space agency could get to stay the course on the policy front, while competing with other priorities on the spending side.

49 mins ago - Health

Axios-Ipsos poll: Federal response has only gotten worse

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note ±3.3% margin of error for the total sample size; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Americans believe the federal government's handling of the pandemic has gotten significantly worse over time, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: Every other institution measured in Week 29 of our national poll — from state and local governments to people's own employers and area businesses — won positive marks for improving their responses since those panicked early days in March and April.

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