The House Armed Services Committee has voted 60 to 1 in favor of a bill that would create the first new branch of the military since the Air Force was formed in 1947. The bill is moving up to the full House for a vote as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, an annual piece of legislation which specifies military expenditures for the year. This year’s NDAA is unique in that it calls for the founding of the United States Space Corps as a separate military branch that would fall under the Air Force.
The Space Corps would be tasked with “providing combat-ready space forces that enable the commanders of the combatant commands to fight and win wars.” The move may have been spurred by recent cyberattacks and by China’s 2007 demonstration of the ability to destroy satellites from the ground. Representative Mike Rogers (R — Alabama), chair of the subcommittee which drafted the legislation, told NPR last month, “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.”
The legislation isn’t supported by all, reports CNN:
Senior Air Force officials see the proposed corps as an unnecessary change in the force’s existing space efforts. (The Space Corps wouldn’t exactly be boldly going where no man has gone before. The Air Force Space Command has been working toward that since 1982.)
“This will make it more complex, add more boxes to the organizational chart, and cost more money,” Secretary Heather Wilson told reporters June 21.