Trump's Space Force faces trouble getting off the ground

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President Donald Trump’s proposed Space Force would be the first new branch of the U.S. military in more than 70 years — if Congress approves and if it can get off the ground.

Vice President Mike Pence outlined the potential new service on Thursday in a speech at the Pentagon, saying the administration hopes to have it up and running by 2020.

It’s not the first time the idea has come up. In January 2001, shortly before President George W. Bush took office, a commission led by his soon-to-be defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, recommended “a military department for space” (PDF). But the proposal, known as the Rumsfeld Report, was largely forgotten after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

This time, Pence said, the Space Force will be a full branch of the military equal to the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marine Corps and the Coast Guard. The Defense Department said in a report released Thursday that it would be led by a four-star general or an equivalent flag officer.

Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign jumped fully in line on Thursday, sending out a letter to supporters offering Space Force-branded apparel for sale “to celebrate President Trump’s huge announcement” and asking them to vote on six proposed Space Force logos.

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