US 2020 Defense Budget May Lack Funds to Cover Trump's Space Force

© US GovernmentDefense Meteorological Satellite Program Primary function: Collect terrestrial, space en- vironment and Earth surface data. Dimensions: Approximately 14 ft. long. Weight: 2,545 lbs., includ- ing 592-pound sensor payload.
Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Primary function: Collect terrestrial, space en- vironment and Earth surface data. Dimensions: Approximately 14 ft. long. Weight: 2,545 lbs., includ- ing 592-pound sensor payload. - Sputnik International
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On Wednesday, ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee Rep. William “Mac” Thornberry told reporters that the fiscal year 2020 defense budget may not make room for US President Donald Trump’s Space Force.

“We've got to get it started," Thornberry also added while talking to reporters Thursday in Washington, DC, Military.com reported. "I think we will come out of conference [with] a lean Space Force designed to meet the objectives that we all want to achieve.”

Thornberry also noted the White House initially proposed a “relatively simple” plan to establish the Space Force, which is to become a new branch within the Pentagon. However, the Defense Department added its own implementation strategies which “not many people [on Capitol Hill] support,” Thornberry added.

"We'll listen to what [Department of Defense officials] say, but there are a lot of different voices saying things … depending on where you are,” Thornberry continued.

In February, Trump signed a directive that ordered the Pentagon to establish a US Space Force that would operate as the US military’s sixth branch within the Air Force.

Although many lawmakers support Trump’s directive, many did not approve of the legislative proposal submitted by the DoD.

“The relatively simple proposal, as I understand it, that the White House sent to DoD had a bunch of stuff added to it that not many people support,” Thornberry said, noting that the House and Senate have differences on how the Space Force language in the National Defense Authorization Act should be expressed. “So I think we will have come out of conference [with] a lean Space Force designed to meet the objectives that we all want to achieve.” 

During his confirmation hearing on July 11, US Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Army Gen. Mark Milley expressed approval of the Senate’s phased approach of establishing the Space Force, according to outlet Space News.

However, in written testimony before his confirmation hearing on July 16, Defense Secretary Mark Esper voiced concern.

“Although the SASC [Senate Armed Services Committee] language provides key elements to elevating the space domain, such as the four-star military leadership with membership on the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the direct report to the Secretary of the Air Force, I urge the committee to provide the necessary technical legislative authority to establish the Space Force as the sixth branch of the Armed Forces within the Department of the Air Force. I also request the committee to provide the department with the necessary resources to ensure its success.”

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