The Space Force may not be a separate department after all, but it could be a separate military service within the Air Force.
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A US official confirmed to ABC News that the White House had asked the Pentagon to study alternatives to the creation of an independent space force, including a model similar to that of the operation of the Marine Corps in the US Department of Defense. Marine.
Defense One reported for the first time its request to the White House, citing a memo dated Oct. 26 inviting the Pentagon to explore other solutions than creating a space force as a department. distinct military.
A US official confirmed to ABC News that the White House had asked the Pentagon to explore multiple options to respond to the president's intention to create a new military service dedicated to space.
These additional options include the creation of a space force functioning as a sixth military service modeled on the Department of the Air Force, where a new space service would report to the Air Force Department or could be a completely separate department with its own department. service. own civil secretary, said the official.
The creation of a new space force under the Air Force Department would be a model similar to the operation of the Marine Corps as a separate department within the Department of the Navy. The creation of a "space corps" has elicited bipartisan congressional support in the past.
The official noted that all options were intended to satisfy the President's intent to create a separate space service, inside or outside the Air Force.
The creation of a new space force has been a priority for President Trump, who has often cited it at campaign rallies.
"We are going to have the air force and we are going to have space force – separate but equal," said Trump.
In accordance with his comments, the Pentagon has focused on creating a new space force under a new Space Force Department, an initiative that would require congressional legislation.
"Together with the advice, direction and vision of the White House, we are creating space-based options as a sixth military service," said Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Buccino, spokesperson for the deputy secretary of the Air Force. Defense, Pat Shanahan. directs the Pentagon's efforts to create a new military service.
But the US official said the internal discussion aimed at responding to the president's intention had evolved to include a review of additional options.
A second US official told ABC News that there have always been different options for using a space force.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday night.
An Air Force document obtained by ABC News in September estimated that the creation of a new Space Force would cost $ 13 billion.
But in mid-November, Shanahan told reporters that the cost could be less than $ 5 billion.
Jordyn Phelps of ABC News contributed to this report