In this year’s annual National Defense Authorization Act documentation, the House Armed Services Committee has voted in favor of the creation of a new military branch for outer space.
The proposed United States Space Corps would operate in the interest of “providing combat-ready space forces that enable the commanders of the combatant commands to fight and win wars.” It would function as an extension of the Air Force, similarly to the Marine Corps does the Navy.
The United States Air Force has already stated that “maintaining space superiority” is one of its “core missions” as a “warfighting domain.” As recently as April, they added a Deputy Chief of Staff for Space to their roster. They have also renamed the Joint Interagency Combined Space Operations Center to the National Space Defense Center in order to “better describe its actual purpose.”
For all that, you might believe that the Air Force would offer a ringing endorsement to the legislation. Instead, they are among its loudest detractors. Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama said that he was “shocked by the response by the Air Force leadership” to the proposal.
As it happens, neither the Air Force’s chief of staff nor its secretary have taken too kindly to the idea of separating space defense concerns from their existing efforts.
Secretary Heather Wilson said that the creation of a United States Space Corps “will make it more complex, add more boxes to the organizational chart, and cost more money.”
There’s one thing on which all concerned agree, however. The future of warfare lies outside of Earth’s atmosphere. The only real question is whether we’ll ever be defending ourselves from little green men or just each other.