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Mattis 'in Favor of Warfighting Capability Organized Along the Lines' of a Space Force

Defense Secretary James Mattis and Vice President Mike Pence have a discussion during a visit to the Pentagon on Aug. 9, 2018. (DoD photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Vernon Young Jr.)

ARLINGTON, Va. — Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters Sunday that he was not “against setting up a Space Force,” but was against “rushing to do that before we define those problems” such as organizational challenges.

Last week at the Pentagon, Vice President Mike Pence laid out a plan calling for the creation of the United States Space Command, the Space Operations Force, the Space Development Agency, and the United States Department of the Space Force.

With a target date of 2020 to launch the new Space Force, Pence encouraged Congress to allocate $8 billion over the next five years to the new Defense branch.

“We’ve had a year, over a year in defining. And the orbitization of this solution in terms of institutionalizing forward momentum is very important,” Mattis told reporters en route to Brasilia. “…There are some things Congress needs to do. But there are things we can move out on immediately. Actually, we already have been, and all this does is give that an emphasis, and give us added support from above that we then take full advantage of, in terms of funding organization and reorganizing so that we have more — I would call it more cohesion.”

“…As we go forward, we’ll get this reorganization as far as we can take it, based on solving, developing and define the problem, and then they’ll go to the Congress. Well, actually we’re already going to the Congress. We’ve got to work up what the actual organization looks like. You know what, that will take longer, so the normal legislative process at that point. And we have the White House’s support on this.”

Mattis said the Defense Department is “in favor of warfighting capability organized along the lines of what the president has laid out, along those lines.”

“Now as we go forward, of course, they’ll organize it for efficiency and make sure it’s fit for purpose. And we’ll be doing that in close collaboration with the president, and principally the vice president, who President Trump has put in, basically in charge of the political side of it,” he added, stressing that the department can’t do things that require legislation.