On Thursday, Mattis said "space is one of our vital national interests" and is "no longer a new domain". This agency will streamline the process of ensuring the Space Force has the tools and technologies it needs when it needs them.
The Pentagon report, however, included a plan to create a unified combatant command, known as the U.S. Space Command, by the end of 2018, according to a copy reviewed by Reuters.
Mattis had previously opposed the creation of a separate military branch focused on space, writing to Rep. Mike Turner of OH in July of 2017 that he did "not wish to add a separate service that would likely present a narrower and even parochial approach to space operations".
Critics argue that Trump's Space Force would be stepping on the toes of the U.S. Air Force Space Command, which now oversees the nation's military operations in space.
"Both China and Russian Federation have been conducting highly sophisticated "on-orbit" activities that could enable them to maneuver their satellites into close proximity with ours, posing unprecedented new dangers to our space systems", Pence said.
Even before Trump's comments, the Defense Department was under orders to formulate a "concept of operations" document for space war fighting.
While there is broad recognition of the necessity of protecting the US military's assets in space - with satellites playing a central role in modern everyday life and military operations - there remains vigorous debate about the virtues of creating a separate military branch. "So now, we have to adjust and make sure that we can defend what we do in space and deter anyone from challenging us there". In 2007, China fired a missile to destroy an aged weather satellite, demonstrating in a dramatic fashion its ability to deploy anti-satellite weapons. Then a few years later it fired another missile, this time into the deeper orbit where the Pentagon parks its most sensitive satellites.
Pence cited adversaries' advancements in developing hypersonic missiles, which can travel up to five miles per second and evade missile warning systems.