If plans push through, the U.S. would have a new branch of the armed forces. It would be the creation of a U.S. “Space Corps” which would also incorporate the current space missions of the U.S. Air Force.
The House Armed Services Committee has voted for the creation of the Space Corps, and it will be poised to become the first new military service in the country since 1947.
Some lawmakers, however, protested that they were caught off guard by the proposal, giving them little or no time to study and air their reservations on the Space Corps creation. Republican Representative Michael Turner from Ohio cried that he did not know it was happening. He said: “A meeting is certainly not enough. Maybe we do need a space corps, but I think this bears more than just discussions in a subcommittee.”
Turner also pointed out: “We have not had Secretary Mattis come before us and tell us what this means. We have not heard from the secretary of the Air Force. There’s a whole lot of work we need to do before we go as far as creating a new service branch.”
Arizona Republican Martha McSally, a retired Air Force colonel, also echoed Turner’s surprise and said that was the first time she heard about a major reorganization to the Air Force.
The proponents, Mike Rogers and Jim Cooper, the top Republican and Democrat on the strategic forces subcommittee, however, said the dedicated space service had been mooted for years. Rogers said: “There’s been nothing short-sighted about this.”
Rogers elaborated that they have started working on it “vigorously” since September, and that they have conducted various meetings with experts who had advised them on how the space corps should be organized and formed. He said that the idea for a space corps as part of the U.S. Air Force came from the Rumsfeld Commission in 2001.
Cooper added that having a space corps is important for the U.S. defense strategies as he warned: “We could wake up one morning and be blinded and defeated by adversary powers, because so many of our most precious assets are up in space.”