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    Pentagon Pushes Space Force Programs Even Without Congress’ Approval, Funding

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    The US Defense Department is plowing ahead to make good on US President Donald Trump’s promise to start up a Space Force, proposing the establishment of a satellite-procurement agency, a new Space Operations Force and a brand-new combatant command ‒ though without Congressional approval or clear funding.

    The Pentagon is circulating a 14-page document to lawmakers that outlines a general plan for the Space Force and how Congress can write it into law, Defense One reported Tuesday.

    "DoD will usher in a new age of space technology and field new systems in order to deter, and if necessary degrade, deny, disrupt, destroy and manipulate adversary capabilities to protect US interests, assets and way of life… This new age will unlock growth in the US industrial base, expand the commercial space economy and strengthen partnerships with our allies," a copy of the document, obtained by Defense One, states.

    The satellite-procurement agency, the new combatant command and the Space Operations Force are among the core components of the president's proposed Space Force. What's not clear is how they'll be funded: the most recent draft of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act does not authorize new funding for Trump's space vision, Sputnik reported July 23.

    Still, the effort is estimated to be completed within a couple months by the Pentagon, Defense One reported.

    "I've directed the Pentagon to begin the process of creating the sixth branch of our military. It's called the Space Force… A lot of very important things are going to be taking place in space… We are going to have the Air Force, and we are going to have the Space Force — separate but equal," Trump said when proposing the new branch in June.

    Funding for the program is not expected from lawmakers until 2020 at the earliest, but, according to Defense One, these other component departments under the Space Force can be implemented without Congressional approval and funding.

    The US Air Force has argued that it already handles space operations, thus making the creation of the Space Force unnecessary at best, and yet another costly bureaucratic burden within the Pentagon at worst.

    "The Pentagon is complicated enough," Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told reporters in 2017 in response to Congressional inquiries about creating a Space Corps. "This will make it more complex, add more boxes to the organization chart and cost more money. If I had more money, I would put it into lethality, not bureaucracy."

    Another official who previously occupied Wilson's post agrees.

    "I do not know how much it would cost to set up a separate military service, but if anyone thinks you're going to do it on the cheap, I will tell you that I've never seen anything like this done on the cheap," former US Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said on July 30 during an event at the Brookings Institution. "It will cost more than what they predict."

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    Tags:
    Space Force, Space Forces, Pentagon, Donald Trump, Heather Wilson, United States
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