After hours of deliberation Wednesday, the House Armed Services Committee decided to move forward with the creation of a sixth branch of the military. The Space Corps branch, which would fall under the control of the Air Force, would handle any military operations in orbit. As you might imagine, there are those who stoutly against this change.
Rep. Mike Turner initially purposed an amendment that would stop the creation of Space Corps. The Air Force also spoke out in opposition to the sixth military branch, which would be their responsibility, stating that it would become an unnecessary bureaucracy, per reports from The Hill.
Last week, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson spoke on behalf of the Air Force when she commented that Space Corps would likely result in a branch that is “more complex, add more boxes to the organization chart and cost more money.”
Turner expressed his concerns after his amendment was denied. “This mark is asking us to do something we have not done since 1947,” Turner explained. “My concern is that we just have not risen to the level of the knowledge for us to make a decision….”
Those that support the bill such as Rep. Mike Rogers said: “The Air Force is like any other bureaucracy. They don’t want to change. They certainly don’t want Congress telling them they have to change. But this is our role. It is what we’re here for. It has been painfully apparent from the briefings we’ve gotten from our general officers that both Russia and China have nearly caught us in space capabilities,” according to Space News.
Members of the Armed Services Committee insisted that they have carefully considered the idea of a Space Corps and are not simply jumping in without any research. However, there were committee members who told the press that they were unaware of what Space Corp even was prior to Wednesday night, according to the Washington Examiner.
“I’m not on the subcommittee — I’m on three other subcommittees — and this is honestly the first time I’ve heard about a major reorganization to our Air Force,” Rep. Martha McSally, who is an Air Force veteran, said. “I would just think that something this significant if we’re at that point in our committee that we would have hearings or discussions at the full committee level.”
It’s evident that not everyone is gung-ho about the idea of a sixth military branch, but as technology evolves, it will only be a matter of time until space becomes a frontier that all nations fight to control. The US might as well take steps now to prepare for that inevitability.