DOD Sends Space Force Proposal to Congress

DOD Sends Space Force Proposal to Congress

Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan released the proposal to Congress to create a Space Force today.  It envisions standing up the U.S. Space Force as part of the U.S. Air Force over 5 years.  The FY2020 budget request is $72.4 million.  Once it is fully established, Shanahan estimates the cost of the Space Force at $500 million annually in additive costs.

The Pentagon released three documents explaining its plans for the Space Force and why the Trump Administration believes it is needed.

The proposed new organization chart for DOD, including the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is as follows, along with key points from the fact sheet.


In a statement, Shanahan called it an “historic moment for our nation” that “follows President Trump’s bold vision for space…”   Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson asserted:  “We will continue to be the best in the world at space and establishing a dedicated space force strengthens our ability to deter, compete and win in space.”

In essence, the proposal is a prime example of compromise — less than Trump wanted, but more than Wilson or other top DOD officials.  Trump wanted a “separate but equal” Department of the Space Force.  Wilson, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein, then-Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and other Pentagon brass strongly opposed any separation of space from other Air Force responsibilities when the idea was first broached in 2017 by the House Armed Services Committee (HASC).  HASC called it a Space Corps, analogous to the Marine Corps within the Department of the Navy.  This proposal adopts Trump’s Space Force name, but otherwise it appears quite similar to HASC’s Space Corps.

The HASC proposal passed the House, but the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) rejected it.  Much has changed since then, but the question remains as to whether Congress agrees that creating a Space Force with its own Under Secretary of the Air Force and Chief of Staff, who will be a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will achieve the goal of better organization and management of military space activities to meet today’s threats.

In a statement today, SASC Chairman James Inhofe (R-OK) said he welcomes the proposal and will “work with the Administration to best address the threats with maximum efficiency and effectiveness.”  At a hearing earlier in the week, Ranking Member Jack Reed expressed reservations about creating a new bureaucracy, however.

This article has been updated and the title modified.

User Comments has the right (but not the obligation) to monitor the comments and to remove any materials it deems inappropriate.  We do not post comments that include links to other websites since we have no control over that content nor can we verify the security of such links.