A proposed new branch of the U.S. military, the “United States Space Corps,” could soon be established as a combat-ready force that will be deployed to space to fight future “Star Wars.”
The proposal comes amid concerns about the increasing threat that Russia and China pose to the U.S. in the area of space warfare as both countries develop the capability to take out U.S. satellite systems.
According to CNN, the House is set for a vote on a bill that proposes the creation of a real-life “Guardians of the Galaxy,” after a congressional committee voted in favor of the U.S. military adding a new branch that will consist of combat-ready troops trained to fight the country’s future space wars.
Last week, the House Armed Services Committee voted 60 to 1 to approve a proposal in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would create the United States Space Corps, the first new branch of the armed forces since the U.S. Air Force was founded in 1947.
The new force will operate under the Air Force in the same way that the Marine Corps falls under the U.S. Navy. It will be responsible for conducting all operations of the U.S. military in space. It will monitor space assets, such as satellites, and track cyber threats to the country’s space assets. The Space Corps will provide “combat-ready space forces that enable the commanders of the combatant commands to fight and win wars.”
— The Independent (@Independent) July 1, 2017
What kind of benefits come with enlisting in the Space Corps? https://t.co/Yhkw4Dhf0I
— Ars Technica (@arstechnica) July 5, 2017
The chief of staff of the Space Corps will be appointed by the president to a six-year term. He will be on equal footing with the U.S.A.F. chief of staff, but both will report to the Secretary for the Air Force.
According to Newsweek, the idea of creating a Space Corps was first conceived in 2001 by the former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who called for closer coordination between the country’s space agencies and the establishment of an undersecretary position that focuses on space, intelligence and information. Rumsfeld argued that the creation of a Space Corp was necessary “if the U.S. is to avoid a ‘space Pearl Harbor.'”
However, the idea remains controversial, especially among some Air Force officials who oppose it because they believe it will complicate the already complex U.S.A.F organizational structure.
According to CNN, the Air Force’s secretary and chief of staff have reportedly voiced their reservations about the idea of creating a separate space force for the U.S. military.
Senior Air Force officials reportedly see the proposed corps as unnecessary in the context of ongoing space efforts by the U.S.A.F. Many senior Air Force officials believe that the Space Corps isn’t likely add value to the efforts of the already existing Air Force Space Command which has been working on multiple space initiatives since 1982.
"But the Air Force argues that the House is taking the wrong approach with its new push for a space corps,… https://t.co/EWflls35B0
— Veterans For Peace (@VFPNational) July 8, 2017
“This [the creation of the United States Space Corps] will make [U.S.A.F space operations] more complex, add more boxes to the organizational chart, and cost more money,” Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson reportedly said.
Some members of Congress have also voiced their opposition to the proposal.
“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,” said Representative Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), a retired United States Air Force Colonel, according to Newsweek.
However, lawmakers in favor of the idea include Representative Jim Cooper (D-TN) and Mike Rogers (R-AL), who say they believe that the country’s national security space systems will derive significant strategic advantages from the establishment of the United States Space Corps.
Representative Mike told the NPR in a recent interview that it was important that Congress act urgently in the face of the threat that the Russians and Chinese pose in the area of space warfare.
“The Russians and Chinese have realized that if they can take our eyes and ears out, which is what our satellites are, they might actually be able to compete or have an advantage against us,” he said. “The bureaucracy is always going to fight reform—always, especially the Pentagon.”
[Featured Image by Fernando Cortes/Getty Images]