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The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying NASA's Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft lifts off. Photo by Joel Kowsky/NASA via Getty Images

Speaking alongside Defense Secretary James Mattis at the Pentagon Thursday, Vice President Pence announced that "establishing the Space Force is an idea whose time has come."

The big picture: The Vice President explained the Pentagon has begun the process of establishing Space Force as a 6th branch of the U.S. military by 2020, beginning with the establishment of a new combatant command overseen by a four-star general. However, only Congress has the power to establish a new branch of the military.

The details: 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 report explains the Defense Department is requesting 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.

Leading up to the establishment of a 6th branch of the military, the Defense Department has proposed to Congress that it will establish a Space Development Agency, a Space Operations Force, and a new U.S. Space Command to improve and evolve space warfighting, including integrating innovative force designs, concepts of operation, doctrines, tactics, techniques and procedures.

  • The development of this branch will require a new position of assistant secretary defense for space who will report directly to Secretary Mattis, Pence announced.

Quickly after Pence's announcement concluded, the president expressed his support for the development in a tweet.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

The bottom line: The development of a Space Force comes in response to anti-satellite weaponry and other technologies by countries such as China and Russia, which Pence and Mattis cited as emerging threats that must be countered.

Go deeper

Hill votes will make global waves

President Biden addresses the UN General Assembly on Sept. 21, 2021 in New York City. Photo: Eduardo Munoz-Pool/Getty Images)

This epic week for President Biden on Capitol Hill is even bigger than his domestic agenda.

Why it matters: Biden has anchored his entire strategy for foreign affairs on the notion that "America is back." What that means in practice is that Biden needs to prove democracy works to rally America’s liberal allies against rising authoritarians.

2 hours ago - World

German election: Exit polls show close race to succeed Angela Merkel

SPD leader Olaf Scholz. Photo: Alex Kraus/Bloomberg via Getty Images

BERLIN — The first exit poll from Sunday's German elections showed the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) and the center-right Christian Democrats (CDU) in a dead heat at 25%, leaving the race to succeed Angela Merkel too close to call.

The state of play: A second exit poll showed the SPD narrowly ahead. That's the one televisions displayed at SPD headquarters in Berlin, where the room erupted into cheers. Official results will roll in throughout the evening.

Abbott says he'll hire Border Patrol agents who whipped at migrants

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Sunday defended the actions of U.S. Border Patrol agents who charged at Haitian migrants on horseback, blaming the Biden administration for not preventing them from crossing the border.

Why it matters: Abbott's remark on "Fox News Sunday" comes amid increased backlash over the incident, with President Biden saying, "I promise... those people will pay,” and the Department of Homeland Security launching an investigation.