Colbert: Trump's proposed Space Force inspired by Buzz Lightyear

Jimmy Kimmel said Mike Pence's remarks about forming a separate military branch to beef up satellite defense were not a scene from a movie - but action filmmaker Michael Bay is "on board to direct the whole thing".

"China and Russian Federation have been conducting highly sophisticated on-orbit activities that could enable them to maneuver their satellites into close proximity of ours, posing unprecedented new dangers to our space systems", he said.

Sen. Bill Nelson is among the lawmakers opposed to the idea.

Initially an assistant secretary of defense for space, this position will be "key to the critical transition to a Secretary of the Space Force in the years ahead", said Pence.

"Ultimately, Congress must act to establish this new department, which will organize, train and equip the United States Space Force", Pence said.

The Air Force is the youngest branch of the USA military; it was established in 1947 after World War II.

Brian Weeden, the director of program planning for the Secure World Foundation, a space policy think tank, believes one of the driving factors behind the move to create the Space Force is that the Air Force has not responded quickly or strongly enough to emerging threats.

While the plans will still require the approval of Congress before they can proceed, Pence expressed hopes that the Space Force would feature in 2019's budget and be in full operation by 2020.

Dodge said it would "free up the Air Force to focus on what it does best", as the new branch addressed issues unique to space.

On Tuesday, however, Mattis expressed full support for creating a new US Space Command.

His 2020 reelection campaign sent a fundraising email on Thursday asking supporters to vote on their favorite Space Force logo for future Trump campaign merchandise, offering a choice of six.

A US Space Command would be created as an interim step, to be led by a four-star officer and drawing forces from other armed services, he said. One of the designs is clearly based on the current logo of NASA, the civilian United States space agency.

Over on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!", the host discovered that there already was a "space force" in the form of a 1970s TV movie starring Fred Willard.

But retired NASA astronaut Mark Kelly - a former Navy pilot, combat veteran, four-time space-flyer, and the identical twin brother of the former astronaut Scott Kelly - doesn't support the plan, and some members of Congress have also voiced their distaste for the idea.

President Donald Trump and his administration are angling to create a Space Force, a sixth branch of the military that sounds straight out of a sci-fi movie. "Towards that end, the Department of Defense will marshal space resources into a Space Force", said the report.

Efforts to reach several senior Air Force officials were not successful Thursday.

The current branches of the United States military are the Navy, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Army and Air Force.

While peaceful use and exploration is permitted, smaller-scale weapons are not explicitly barred, and experts fear that militarizing space with them could stoke a costly new arms race.

Pence in his speech asked Congress to approve $8bn over five years for space security systems, but a freestanding Space Force would likely cost far more than that.

"We have been warning for years of the need to protect our space assets and to develop more capable space systems", they said in a joint statement.