The announcement of a detailed plan to establish the new Space Force, including seeking the necessary congressional authorization, comes nearly two months after President Donald Trump first announced the initiative.
"It's not enough to have an American presence in space".
"Now the time has come to write the next great chapter in the history of our armed forces", he said in a speech at the Pentagon. And the idea has already run into fierce opposition inside and outside the Pentagon, particularly from the Air Force, which could lose some of its responsibilities.
Colbert played a clip of the president talking about a space-based military branch from "stardate March 13, where supreme leader Trump addressed a confused planet".
Is this what a Space Force fighter would look like? Intelligence agencies that have space capabilities, such as the National Reconnaissance Office, and missile defense forces such as the Missile Defense Agency might get swept into Space Force as well, he added. The Pentagon has not yet determined the price tag, the deputy defense secretary, Patrick Shanahan, told reporters on Thursday.
On Tuesday, however, Mattis expressed full support for creating a new US Space Command.
He was there when man first landed on the moon in 1969 and on Friday, Buzz Aldrin endorsed a new galactic effort - the Trump administration's Space Force.
America's vast military divides the globe into various commands, such as Central Command in the Middle East or Indo-Pacific Command in Asia, and a new Space Command would be on equal footing with these.
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Democratic Senator Bill Nelson has said such a move would "rip the Air Force apart".
However Mattis has since echoed support for Trump's position, saying Tuesday that he was "in complete alignment with the president's concern about protecting our assets in space that contribute to our security, to our economy".
But 56 years later, space plays a vital role in just about every aspect of modern warfare, with many military technologies reliant on a network of orbiting sensors and satellites.
"The Space Force will unlock our potential and lead to outcomes never before thought possible", the Pentagon document concluded. "Next February in the president's budget we will call on the Congress to marshal the resources we need to stand up the Space Force". The U.S. military is already developing the next generation of jam-resistant satellites and missile warning satellites that are smaller, tougher, and more maneuverable.
The current administration said that it hoped to establish a new military Space Command and a Space Operations Force, which would bring in professionals in the space industry.
It's not just the Air Force that is getting its toes stepped on.
To provide context, Nasa is a civilian branch of government whereas the Space Force will be a branch of the U.S. military. Elevating the proposal to create a new department will mean additional Pentagon bureaucracy, critics say.