1 big thing: "Space Force all the way!"
President Trump's Space Force got a lot more real today: The Pentagon has begun the process of establishing it as a 6th branch of the U.S. military by 2020.
The big picture: Only Congress has the power to create a new branch of the military. The Space Force will start with a new combatant command overseen by a four-star general.
Details: In a speech with Defense Secretary James Mattis today, Vice President Mike Pence outlined the first stages of a plan that the Department of Defense will deliver to Congress to develop a U.S. Space Force.
- The plan includes four pillars, including the need to "strengthen deterrence and warfighting options."
- The Defense Department is requesting that Congress appropriate another $8 billion for space security systems over the next 5 years and will work with Congress to enact a statutory authority in the National Defense Authorization Act for these programs.
- Pence and Mattis cite anti-satellite weaponry and other technologies by countries such as China and Russia, as emerging threats that must be countered.
- Trump tweet after the announcement: "Space Force all the way!"
Axios' Andrew Freedman emails: "This strikes me as an interesting balance between the Pentagon trying to placate Trump, initially with a combatant command that has a 4-star general, while working toward establishing a space force as a separate military branch."
- "The new command supercedes the existing Space Command within the Air Force. But the Space Force! slogan is like a rallying cry at Trump's events now, people wear t-shirts with it on there."
The bottom line: The next debate will be whether a sixth branch of the Defense Department, and the bureaucracy that it includes, is the best way to tackle that problem.
Bonus: Photo du jour
Dogs and their humans at an "ALPHA - Bring Your Own Dog (BYOD)" screening in San Francisco.
2. What you missed
- More than 2,000 prisoners are fighting California's record-breaking wildfires, but complex licensing laws make it unlikely they'll get firefighting jobs after release. Go deeper.
- Facebook is banning sites that host downloadable files for 3D-printed guns from its platform, BuzzFeed News reports.
- Israel is furious at its longtime ally Colombia, whose outgoing president recognized Palestine as a sovereign state during his last days in office. Go deeper.
- One Australian drug company just keeps tripping up House Republicans, even thought it's had only one (failed) product in one (failed) clinical trial. Go deeper.
Chart du jour: The wildfires in perspective
3. 1 fun thing
A new audiobook from J.K. Rowling's publishing house will dive even deeper into the magical world that birthed Harry Potter, narrated by Natalie Dormer of "Game of Thrones."
- "'Harry Potter: A History of Magic'" will go on sale Oct. 4. ... [T]he book will feature "hidden stories" about magic and tell of the manuscripts, myths and other artifacts that J.K. Rowling drew upon for her blockbuster fantasy series."
Go deeper: Listen to Dormer preview the book