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Air Force says planning for Space Force will be 'thorough' and 'deliberate'

Air Force says planning for Space Force will be 'thorough' and 'deliberate'
Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson in December. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Planning to establish a new, separate U.S. Space Force, as directed by President Trump earlier this week, is not expected to be a speedy process, Air Force officials say.

A letter to airmen signed by Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth Wright said the Air Force looked forward to working with the Defense Department, Congress and other national security partners to “move forward on this planning effort.”

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However, it said the work to create what could be the sixth branch of the U.S. armed forces would be a “thorough, deliberate and inclusive process.”

“As such, we should not expect any immediate moves or changes,” the letter stated. “Our focus must remain on the mission as we continue to accelerate the space warfighting capabilities required to support the National Defense Strategy.”

On Monday, Trump directed the Defense Department and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to create a Space Force. A congressional vote would be necessary to authorize a new military service.

The Air Force, as well as Defense Secretary James N. Mattis, had previously opposed a similar idea from the House for a “space corps,” which would have been housed under the Air Force.

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