President Donald Trump has again said that the realm of outer space is one where the U.S. military needs to be involved in and wants a new branch of the military dedicated to it.
The President stumped his idea in the White House while hosting members of the West Point football team for a “Space Force” branch to the US military, an idea that isn’t popular with the Pentagon.
“You will be part of the five proud branches of the United States Armed Forces — Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and the Coast Guard. And we’re actually thinking of a sixth, and that would be the Space Force,” Trump said while presenting the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy to the Army football team in the Rose Garden.
“You probably haven’t even heard that. I’m just telling you now. We’re getting very big in space, both militarily and for other reasons, and we are seriously thinking of the Space Force,” he said.
“Space is a war-fighting domain, just like the land, air and sea,” Trump said at the time. “We may even have a space force.”
The endorsement was praised by Rep. Mike Rogers, an Alabama Republican who’s the chairman of the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee.
“I am thrilled that the Space Corps idea is gaining traction at the White House. Congressman Jim Cooper (D-TN) and I have worked tirelessly on the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) Strategic Forces subcommittee level on the need for a Space Corps outside of the Air Force for over two years now,” Rogers said in a statement to CNN.
“Russia and China are surpassing us in Space capabilities and we need to dedicate a separate force solely with a Space mission. The future of war will be fought in Space, and we must stay diligent and ahead of other countries for our own national security,” he added.
That proposal, which was included in the House version of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, would have set up a Space Corps in the mold of the Marine Corps, which is a separate military branch that’s housed within the Navy.
But despite support from House Armed Services Committee leaders — including Chairman Mac Thornberry, a Texas Republican — the plan was nixed from the final version of the $700 billion bipartisan defense policy bill, which was ultimately signed by Trump in December, due to opposition from the Senate and Pentagon leaders, who argued it needed more study.
However, congressional negotiators did include a series of management and procedural changes to the existing Air Force space programs in an effort to “begin fixing the broken national security space enterprise.”
Part of the reasons the Pentagon isn’t warm to it is turf and money. The Air Force considers space to be part of their realm and none of the other services want to compete with another service over budget money.
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