Acting Pentagon chief makes renewed pitch for Space Force

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Acting Pentagon chief makes renewed pitch for Space Force
President Donald Trump listens as acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan speaks during an expanded bilateral meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Tuesday, April 2, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The acting defense secretary is making a renewed pitch to Congress for authority to create a Space Force as a separate branch of the military.

Patrick Shanahan, who’s been heading the Pentagon on an interim basis since Jan. 1, is testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Some committee members have expressed skepticism about the need to establish a Space Force as a separate military service.

In his prepared remarks, Shanahan says a Space Force is required to maintain what he calls America’s “margin of dominance” in space. He also says China and Russia are — in his words — “weaponizing” space.

The Trump administration’s proposal is part of a broader plan intended to accelerate the development of U.S. space defenses.