The House Armed Services Committee has voted to split the US Air Force leading to the creation of the US Space Corps. The move makes the US the only nation currently with a branch of the military dedicated to space, but not everybody is happy with this.
Although this is the first new military branch created in the US since 1947, it has been investigated as a possibility since the early 2000s. The general idea is that the space race started in an uncontested environment with little impact on civilian life and it is now very much a shared arena full of essential technologies. The subcommittee thinks that this would be better defended by a separate group.
“This is an issue the subcommittee has studied for months and I can’t even tell you how many meetings with space experts and leaders Jim [Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper] and I have had on this subject,” Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, stated.
“We both have come to the same conclusion – that the Department can’t fix itself on this, Congress has to step in. And that is why the Mark creates a new Space Corps within the Department of the Air Force, under its Secretary, but separate from the Air Force itself. It also re-establishes a Space Command as a sub-unified command under U.S. Strategic Command.”
The subcommittee believes this move will help the US maintain their strategic advantage in space. But not all members of the committee were equally pleased with this as the mark-up (proposed legislation before it is passed) was only discussed in a couple of meetings.
“This is honestly the first time I’ve heard about a major reorganization to our Air Force,” Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), a retired Air Force colonel, told Federal News Radio. “This is sort of a shocking way to hear about a very major reorganization to our military, and I think it deserves at least a couple hearings and discussions on the matter at the full committee level.”
Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio) voiced similar concerns claiming that he only learned about the proposal the week before. It wasn’t just members of the subcommittee unhappy with the move. People in the armed forces have voiced their concern too. But Rogers said that he didn’t expect them to embrace the reforms.
“These changes won’t be easy and will be disruptive in the short-term, but our adversaries will never be less capable than they are today – we must act now if we wish to maintain the advantages the U.S. military obtains from by operating in, through, and from space,” Rogers added.
The House will vote on the proposal when it returns from its recess after July 4.
[H/T: Federal News Radio]