Pence: Trump’s national security will be as 'dominant' in space as it is on Earth

Pence: Trump’s national security will be as 'dominant' in space as it is on Earth
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Vice President Pence on Thursday said the Trump administration is taking steps to "ensure American national security is as dominant in space as it is here on Earth."

Pence spoke at the Johnson Space Center in Houston to endorse the development of President TrumpDonald John TrumpAverage tax refunds down double-digits, IRS data shows White House warns Maduro as Venezuela orders partial closure of border with Colombia Trump administration directs 1,000 more troops to Mexican border MORE's "Space Force," a new military branch for space. 


“In this still-new century, we will create an armed service devoted solely to advancing American security in space, and the need is real," Pence said. "Our administration is committed to keep America ahead of our adversaries in this critical domain, and as we speak the Department of Defense is moving forward with initial steps to strengthen American security in space,” he said, citing Chinese and Russian developments in space intended to “counter America’s space capabilities.”

Pence reiterated his promise that the Space Force would be a reality by 2020.

While House Republicans have backed Trump's initiative, but skeptics on both sides of the Senate have relayed concerns about where funding for the Space Force program would come from and the readiness of existing military branches.

“How do we make sure we're protecting taxpayer dollars and making sure they're most efficiently used while achieving that objective?” Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstFormer Iowa Gov. Vilsack won't challenge Ernst for Senate in 2020 Push for paid family leave heats up ahead of 2020 Ivanka Trump to meet with GOP senators to discuss paid family leave legislation MORE (R-Iowa) asked Tuesday

“Nobody thinks we’re at the readiness level that we should be. And then once we get there, then we can talk about a space force,” Sen. Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanAlaska in lockdown over leadership stalemate Bennet gives emotional speech ripping into Cruz over shutdown Trump tells GOP senators he’s sticking to Syria and Afghanistan pullout  MORE (R-Alaska) said.

Other signs point to senators potentially coming around to the idea.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior member of the Armed Services Committee said in a recent statement to The Hill that he “will work with the President and DOD to consider all options for countering China and Russia in space as things continue to evolve and change.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), meanwhile, told The Hill earlier this week that he is “open-minded” about the idea.