In October 2018, the Space Council approved six recommendations to send to the president, which became part of Trump’s fourth Space Policy Directive. The recommendations lay the groundwork for the Space Force by establishing a new, unified space command as well as a new space technology procurement agency, and by initiating an interagency review of space capabilities. In addition, Pence said during his speech announcing the plan, the Space Council would work with the National Security Council to “remove red tape” around the rules of engagement in space, which could be construed as looking for a way around the insistence by the international Outer Space Treaty that all activities in space be peaceful. So what exactly is a Space Force? This is one of the foggier parts of the proposal. While it’s envisioned as a service branch like the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy that people could enlist and serve in, it’s not completely clear what those enlistees would be doing. It seems unlikely that the Space Force will be sending troops to space on a regular basis, if at all. Instead, it appears a Space Force would be much more focused on imposing military influence on current space traffic, which is mostly unmanned spacecraft (satellites, by and large), and also consolidating the way items in space are used to guide and assist military operations on the surface of the planet.Isn’t our military already doing things in and about space?Yes. The US military has been actively involved in space activities for decades. In the 1960s, at the same time that NASA was working toward a moon landing, the Air Force even had a parallel manned space program with its own astronauts, although none of them ever launched, as far as we know.Today, a significant portion of US military activities tied to space resides in the Air Force Space Command, headquartered in Colorado, with over 30,000 people worldwide and launch facilities in Florida and California. The command handles missions that include satellite communications, missile warning systems, global positioning systems, surveillance of space, and other projects like the secretive X-37B space plane. Now playing: Watch this: Tags Sci-Tech 12 Photos Target Military Space Donald Trump Share your voice Now playing: Watch this: The US is getting a Space Force 1:31 Will Trump’s Space Force really protect us all? Three months later, Trump made it clear he was serious. At a meeting of the National Space Council, he directed the Department of Defense to begin the process of forming a sixth branch of the military.”It is not enough to merely have an American presence in space,” Trump said. “We must have American dominance in space.” The president doesn’t have the authority to create a military service on his own. That’s a job for Congress, which last did so in 1947 when, with President Harry Truman’s signature, it spun the Air Force out of the Army. But Trump has been moving forward with the Pentagon and the National Space Council, chaired by Vice President Mike Pence, to develop and talk up a plan that includes both executive actions and a legislative proposal. 24 In August, President Trump tweeted “Space Force All The Way” in support of his proposed new military service. Could it serve as a motto for the branch? NASA/NOAA image with text by Amanda Kooser/CNET From the start, the name Space Force sounded like a punchline. It carried echoes of juvenile name-calling and Hollywood laugh lines. Space cadet. Spaceballs. Marvin the Martian’s Q-36 explosive space modulator.But despite the plans getting blasted by Twitter snark and inspiring a new Netflix comedy starring Steve Carell, President Donald Trump’s Space Force is serious business.The basic concept is a call to arms for a new way of dealing with military matters in Earth’s orbit. The Trump administration hopes to have a United States Space Force up and running by as soon as 2020, but politics could stand in the way of meeting that goal.The midterm elections of 2018 and resulting shift of power in the House of Representatives from Republican to Democratic control make it unlikely a whole new branch of the military will be created as Trump initially proposed. At least not until the next election.In the meantime, Trump formally reestablished the United States Space Command as a division within the Department of Defense on Aug. 29. Space Command is one of 11 unified combatant commands that oversee a certain geographical or functional area: United States European Command and Cyber Command are a few other examples of existing combatant commands.Space Command isn’t new; it was established in 1985 by President Reagan and went away when it was merged with US Strategic Command in 2002 following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.Trump said that reviving the command is a step towards creating his Space Force as a sixth military branch.Another idea from the White House is to create a Space Force that exists within the structure of the Air Force. On Feb. 19, President Trump signed Space Policy Directive 4 calling for the creation of a Space Force Department that will be under the purview of the Secretary of the Air Force. The directive specifically maintains the goal of eventually converting the new department into its own, sixth military branch. Even as a department within the Air Force, the new Space Force will still need to have its funding approved by Congress in an upcoming budget. Still, in just a few years, military recruiters could be looking to sign up America’s best and brightest for a brand new military duty that no one was talking about a year ago.Here are some key things to know about what exactly a Space Force might do and how this vision might turn into reality. How did this Space Force talk get started?The idea for a cosmic military branch seems to have begun as an aside by President Trump, who first used the term “space force” in public during an address to Marines in March 2018.”We’re doing a tremendous amount of work in space, and I said, ‘Maybe we need a new force. We’ll call it the Space Force,” Trump said during the speech. “I was not really serious, and then I said, What a great idea. Maybe we’ll have to do that.” Comments 1:16 X-37B: The space plane of mystery (pictures) A Pentagon memo obtained by Defense One indicates that the Trump administration’s original proposal for a sixth military branch had the Space Force absorbing the Naval Satellite Operations Center, the Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, parts of Air Force Space Command and the Army’s 1st Space Brigade, which was specifically created for “enabling the delivery of decisive combat power” and includes two astronauts who are basically on loan to NASA.Why do we need this? Pence has made the argument that space is a “war-fighting domain” and that other global powers like Russia and China are already treating it as such. That phrase echoes what some in the Air Force have been saying for months.The stakes are high. Much of our 21st-century economy and lifestyle — from bank transactions to weather forecasting to television service to the GPS directions guiding you on your vacation road trip — depends on satellites functioning round the clock and without interruption. The military depends on them too.But space right now is a bit like the Wild West, with a wide-ranging mix of government and commercial satellites, all of them sitting ducks. We’ve even seen an instance of target practice: In 2007, China shot down one of its own satellites — mission accomplished in its own right, it also littered orbit with potentially destructive space debris. Many saw the operation as a veiled display of military power. Is everyone on board with the idea?Definitely not. Since Trump’s aside in March of 2018, the notion of a Space Force has been a constant target of ridicule on social media, talk shows and sometimes even on CNET. More seriously, some analysts say the creation of a new military branch would weaken some of the other branches and lead to internal squabbling within the military. “When you create a new bureaucracy, that bureaucracy tends to focus on its own ends. That’s where the problems happen,” Dan Grazier, military fellow at the Center for Defense Information at the Project on Government Oversight, told SpaceNews. Trump’s own Air Force secretary, Heather Wilson, has been less than enthusiastic about the idea. Wilson signed a memo that estimated starting up a Space Force would cost $13 billion over five years, a figure dismissed by Pence and other Space Force boosters. Grazier argues that the cost could be significantly higher.But what was once a “not really serious” idea soon gained serious momentum, and even Wilson has since said publicly that she’s in “complete alignment” with the plan.But for a now a full-blown Space Force remains grounded on the doorstep of Congress.Originally published Oct. 27, 2018. Update, Jan. 16, 2019: Adds that Netflix will be producing a workplace comedy based on Space Force. Update, Feb. 19: Adds that the President signed a directive to create the Space Force within the Air Force.Update, Aug. 30: Adds formal establishment of US Space Command.
Portugal lift the UEFA Nations League trophyReutersPortugal beat Netherlands to clinch the inaugural UEFA Nations League trophy by one goal from Valencia winger Goncalo Guedes at the Estadio do Dragao stadium, in Porto. The 2016 Euro Champions extended their winning streak to 10 games with the victory. The Dutchmen who failed to qualify for the last two international tournaments could not equalise but tried their level best to do so. This trophy was the 29th career cup win for Portugal legend Cristiano Ronaldo.The match did not produce much from the Netherlands side in the first half as Portugal were looking much more sharper. Dutch goalkeeper Jasper Cillissen was the busier shot-stopper in the first half saving long-range shots from Bruno Fernandes. The Sporting Lisbon midfielder was a major threat for the Dutch defence in the first half but captain Virgin Van Dijk and Ajax captain, 19-year-old Matthijs de Ligt were rock solid in defence. The Manchester United summer target performed really well throughout the match. The Netherlands were much more sharper in the second half and Rui Patricio became the busier goalkeeper saving attempts from Georginio Wijnaldum.But at the hour mark, Goncalo Guedes opened the scoring as the winger got a cutback ball delivered to him by Bernardo Silva and smashed it at the bottom right corner of the net from the edge of the box. Cillissen could have done much better as the ball went in after touching his left hand. Ronaldo was silent throughout the matchFILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty ImagesAfter the goal, Netherlands started to press harder but could not open scoring because of the gritty Portugal defence. Patricio made a great save when Martin de Roon fired a shot from 20 yards. Cristiano Ronaldo who tried to add to his tally of 88 international goals was kept silent throughout the match by Van Dijk. This is Portugal’s second trophy win in three years and they are looking like an invincible force in Europe. On the other hand, England finished the tournament as third after defeating Switzerland in the penalties.
Donald TrumpNorth Korea has freed three American detainees, president Donald Trump announced Wednesday, hailing a diplomatic victory ahead of a planned summit with Kim Jong Un.Pyongyang granted the three men “amnesty,” a US official said, and they are now on their way back to the United States with secretary of state Mike Pompeo.Two of the men, agricultural expert Kim Hak-song and former professor Tony Kim were arrested in 2017, while Kim Dong-chul, a South Korea-born American businessman and pastor in his 60s, was sentenced to 10 years’ hard labour in 2016.”I am pleased to inform you that secretary of state Mike Pompeo is in the air and on his way back from North Korea with the 3 wonderful gentlemen that everyone is looking so forward to meeting. They seem to be in good health,” Trump tweeted.The White House said all three men were able to walk unassisted onto a US Air Force plane that carried them and the secretary of state out of North Korea.A second plane, with more robust medical equipment, waited for them at Yokota Air Force Base, just outside Tokyo.”All indications are their health is as good as could be given they been through,” said Pompeo.The family of Tony Kim voiced their gratitude to “all of those who have worked toward and contributed to his return home” — and specifically thanking Trump for “engaging directly with North Korea.””Mostly, we thank God for Tony’s safe return,” the family said in a statement. “We ask that you continue to pray for the people of North Korea and for the release of all who are still being held.”Trump meanwhile described the release as “a gesture of good will” and said he would be on hand when Pompeo’s three “guests” land at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington at 2:00 am (0600 GMT) Thursday.Trump acolytes declared the release an unbridled political victory, evidence, vice president Mike Pence said, that “strong leadership and our America First policies are paying dividends.”The men’s release appears to pave the way for a much-anticipated summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim, scheduled to take place within weeks.- Summit details to follow -Trump says a time, date and location have been decided for that historic summit, although US officials say there are still some details to be worked out.Pompeo told reporters the administration would “in the next handful of days be able to announce date and time.”Possible locations include Singapore and the Demilitarized Zone that separates North and South Korea.The meeting will discuss North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic weapons programme, which may soon give Pyongyang the capability of striking the continental United States.Trump has demanded that North Korea give up its nukes, while Kim has offered few indications about what he is willing to concede or what he will demand in return.North Korea has often insisted that the United States withdraw support for South Korea, where 30,000-plus US military personnel are stationed.Since coming to office Trump has embarked on a campaign of “maximum pressure” on the North Korean regime.A series of provocative North Korean missile tests have been met with US sanctions and a tougher Chinese stance on cross border trade.Officials in Washington believe the punitive economic measures have prompted fuel shortages in North Korea and increased tension inside the regime.North Korea official Kim Yong Chul, who met Pompeo in Pyongyang, insisted the country’s openness to talks was “not the result of sanctions that have been imposed from outside,” but a change in regime focus.”We have perfected our nuclear capability. It is our policy to concentrate all efforts into economic progress in country,” he said.
Georgia Eaves can’t count how many Veterans Day parades and events she has participated in since she served as an Army Captain during the Vietnam War. While Eaves will take part in events in Washington, D.C. and Maryland this Veterans Day weekend she said her heart is heavy because of how she sees veterans being treated, today.Vietnam Veteran Georgia Eaves attended Veterans Prayer Breakfast in 2016. She is not pleased with the way veterans are treated. (Courtesy photo)“A lot of young veterans are not being given the same opportunities as veterans from other cultures but we are all part of the same system,” said Eaves, the D.C. commander of the National Black American Veterans Association.Eaves’ sentiments are being echoed by James A. Dula, a retired Air Force Major who is chairman of the South (Prince George’s) County Democratic Club. “All Vietnam era veterans have been left out of the equation,” he said. “When we came home there were no parades or celebrations. We came home with post traumatic stress disorder.”Taking note of the mass shooting that took place near San Antonio, Texas, Dula said he wasn’t surprised the 26-year-old suspect was an Air Force veteran. “I saw a lot of people coming through who shouldn’t have been in the Air Force,” Dula said. “Look at this man. He assaulted his wife, his child and that led him to be court-marshaled and dishonorably discharged.”Greg Crawford, director of access housing, said Veterans can do well with support services. Crawford’s father, who was one of the first Blacks elected to the D.C. Council and now deceased member H.R. Crawford, who was a Republican, founded the veterans group that provides temporary and permanent housing for veterans as well as other critical services needed to transition them from homelessness to self-sufficiency.The concept of a Veteran’s Center started in the 1970s, after the older Crawford, who represented Ward 7, received a call about a group of homeless men who had created an encampment under a bridge near Georgetown. “We shared a meal of fried chicken and hot coffee that had been prepared on a hot plate,” Crawford told the AFRO in 2016.The experience was catalyst for the founding of Access Housing and earlier this week Crawford said unfortunately homeless people are still living under the same bridge.Crawford died Feb. 10 at age 78. He was remembered as a zealous advocate for residents of Ward 7 and he will be honored during a Veterans Day program at the Southeast Veterans center on Nov. 8.While veterans continue to have issues, Greg said things are getting better nationally. “In January of 2016, communities across America identified 39,471 homeless veterans during point-in-time counts. This represents a substantial decrease (56 percent) in the number of homeless veterans counted in 2010,” he said.In terms of going forward, Greg said: “We have to band together,” and while Eaves was critical of Trump, Greg is giving him the benefit of the doubt. “It’s only been 10 months and as a community we have to raise awareness about those who have made the sacrifices for this country,” he said.