WASHINGTON — The Trump administration's plan to establish a Space Force as a new branch of the military will unfold in phases and will require congressional approval.
According to an outline submitted to Congress on Thursday, the Pentagon will:
—As a first step, recommend to President Donald Trump that he approve creation of a U.S. Space Command by the end of this year. It would be headed by a four-star general. Space Command's main role would be to prepare for conflict in space and to lead U.S. space forces should such a war begin.
—Create a Space Development Agency to accelerate the development and fielding of technologies required for a Space Force. It will report to a civilian.
—Establish a Space Operations Force, which will be a group of space technology and space warfare experts. This group would be the core of an eventual Space Force, to be created as a separate military service. These experts would be developed over time much like the military in the past has created cadres of service members with expertise in medicine, cyber operations and commando operations.
—Submit to Congress, as part of its 2020 budget request, a legislative proposal for creation of a Space Force as a separate military service. Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said Thursday the Pentagon has not yet calculated what this will cost, but he said it will run into the billions.