John Raoux / AP
President Trump is striving to launch a space force as a new branch of the army, but this would initially be placed under the aegis of the Army of the United States. air. The proposal requires an act of Congress.
This represents at least a temporary change – Trump had declared that he wanted a "separate but equal" space force from the Air Force.
A space force is an often repeated goal of the administration, announced by Trump last June as the sixth branch of the armed forces to ensure "American dominance in space".
Critics of the plan have suggested that it could further complicate the military bureaucracy at a high financial cost. The White House said it would mitigate space threats from other countries.
"Potential adversaries are now improving their space capabilities and actively developing ways to attack and destroy our use of space in the event of a crisis or conflict," said a senior administration official. , Scott Horsley, of NPR.
Tuesday afternoon, Trump should sign a policy directive asking the Secretary of Defense to draft a bill to create a branch "Space Force" separate from the US military.
The Chief of Staff of the new force would be a member of the Chiefs of Staff and would be overseen by a Civil Undersecretary of the Air Force.
This would resemble the Marine Corps structure, which is part of the US Navy Department, but with separate representation within the Joint Chiefs.
The senior administration official said that if the plan was approved by Congress, the space force could eventually separate completely from the Air Force, as reported by Horsley.
"The force would consolidate the command of existing army satellite systems into a single command, which include reconnaissance satellites, GPS, missile warning systems and communications platforms. ", announced Geoff Brumfiel, of NPR, last year.
Todd Harrison, Director of the Aerospace Security Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Brumfiel that the space force would not involve troops in space.
"There are no Space Marines, no one is flying with jetpacks," Harrison says. In an opinion piece for Breaking Defense, he recently claimed that a space force was "necessary to strengthen national security authority and responsibility in a single chain of command."
The Air Force is currently responsible for many space related activities in the United States. Last September, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said in a note that setting up a space force would cost about $ 13 billion over five years.
"The costs here are additive costs," she told Defense News. "It's not just a matter of consolidating and consolidating other capabilities – creating a department for recruitment, training, planning, programming and budgeting, as well as all the leadership requirements of a department, is an idea business. "
If the bill passes, it will be the first time that Congress has approved a new branch of the army since 1947, when the Air Force was created.
As Horsley reported, officials on Tuesday did not clarify the cost of a future force. They said that setting up a new headquarters would cost less than $ 100 million. "Other funds would come from consolidating the existing space functions within the space force," Horsley added. "The president's budget could also provide additional funds to cover the cost of improved military space functions."
And while the idea of a space force suits Trump's rallies, it has sparked skepticism or even ridicule among other audiences. The Washington Post has collected caricatures on the idea.
And Netflix announced that Steve Carell would play in a new comedy series about this idea. It's a "workplace comedy focused on the people responsible for creating a sixth branch of the armed forces … the Space Force."