Space Force has been seen as a way for the United States to dominate the advancement of space. Now, Vice President Mike Pence is celebration the congressional action that will allow U.S. Space Force to be a part of the annual defense policy bill.
Trump had a vision early on to establish Space Force so that it could be brought together. Pence told Politico over a phone interview that one administration after another observed the lack of coherency and unification within the command – and it was Trump’s direction that helped to establish this.
Senate and House negotiators revealed a compromise version of the National Defense Authorization Act on Monday so that the US Space Force would be established within the Air Force.
Those within the House and Senate proposed a new space service. The problem was that they disagreed on how it should be structured. The negotiation lasted for months, and the approaches became the most contentious debate of them all.
The final bill redesignates the Air Force Space Command as the US Space Force. It will now be voted on by both chambers. The bill will provide authority to the Air Force secretary so that’s now within the military can be transferred into the new service. However, there is currently no allowance for hiring new people.
Just as the Marine Corps sits as a branch under the authority of the Sec. of the Navy, the new legislation would establish a chief of space operations to sit on the Joint Chiefs of Staff while also being an assistant secretary for the Air Force for both space acquisition and integration.
While this vision is slightly different than the standalone branch that Trump called for in June 2018, it does follow his overall intent. Pence identified that Congress’s plan will prioritize space inside of the Pentagon and ensure that the various space missions across the United States military are united.
Mike Pence also identifies that, prior to Trump’s vision for establishing Space Force, there were space assets spread across 60 different departments. The space policy directive that was signed by Trump called for establishing a sixth branch of the armed forces. Congress has essentially agreed to do that by creating the Space Force within the Air Force.
When pressed, Pence said that Space Force could potentially grow into its own department. In order for this to happen, though, the military space mission will need to grow exponentially. It wouldn’t be the first time that departments have split off. The US Air Force split from the Army in 1947 as air missions became increasingly more common.
Space Force has had buy-in from most everyone. However, it won’t be an official green light for it to be established until the compromise bill passes in both the House and the Senate. Then, it will go to appropriators to establish funding for the branch.
The House Appropriations Committee already denied funding for Space Force once, back in May. Part of this may have been as a result of the House Dems choosing to be petty because funding Space Force would have meant a win for Trump. They asked the Pentagon to study alternatives. Now, the House Appropriations Committee will have to re-evaluate things now that there is a bipartisan compromise bill in front of them.
While it’s unlikely that Space Force will be creating any of its own rockets and colonizing Mars any time soon, it’s still a big deal that Pence was more than happy to share – while giving credit to where it’s due with Donald Trump.
Plenty of administrators saw the problem that there were countless departments trying to deal with the exploration of space. However, while other presidents sat back and watched the problems escalate, only Trump decided that it was time that space was given its own department. As such, while plenty of people laughed when Trump said that he wanted to create Space Force, those within the United States Air Force welcomed the idea with welcome arms – and many wanted to know where they could apply to make the switch. After all, many have waited their entire lives to be able to help ET phone home. It’s like when Will Smith got to go into the alien spacecraft in Independence Day, finally fulfilling his desire to become a pilot.
We’re a long way from that, but the necessary paperwork has been filed. Now, it’s only a matter of time before the vote is made in the House and Senate to finalize the agreement.