Trump space force - a real need but hazy planning

FILE - In this Aug. 9, 2018 file photo, Vice President Mike Pence, center, is greeted by Deputy Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan, left, and Secretary

FILE - In this Aug. 9, 2018 file photo, Vice President Mike Pence, center, is greeted by Deputy Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan, left, and Secretary

FILE - In this Aug. 9, 2018 file photo, Vice President Mike Pence gestures during an event on the creation of a U. S. Space Force at the Pentagon.  Wi

FILE - In this Aug. 9, 2018 file photo, Vice President Mike Pence gestures during an event on the creation of a U. S. Space Force at the Pentagon. Wi

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has demanded that Pentagon create a new military service, a Space Force to assure "American dominance in space." And with that demand, Trump has injected urgency into the debate over the best way to protect U.S. interests in space, both military and commercial.

But his approach has left many struggling to understand basics such as what a Space Force would do and how much it might cost.

The Pentagon is expected to have enough details by early next year to include a Space Force plan in its 2020 budget request.

The idea has taken on a life of its own at Trump's rallies. That's partly due to his conflating of the nation's civilian space program with the military's separate role of providing space-based navigation and communications satellites.