U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers wants the Pentagon to look toward the stars.
The Saks Republican, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, is pushing for the creation of the “Space Corps” a new branch of the U.S. military to protect the nation’s assets in low-to-near Earth orbit.
First reported in AL.com, Rogers and Tennessee Republican Rep. Jim Cooper, both top representatives on the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, presented a measure last week to the House Armed Services Committee National Defense Authorization Act establishing a Space Corps.
As the first new branch since 1947 — the creation of the U.S. Air Force — the Space Corps would be under U. S. Air Force umbrella, and will protect national security and corporate interests.
“There is bipartisan acknowledgment that the strategic advantages we derive from our national security space systems are eroding,” Rogers said a joint statement. “Not only are there developments by adversaries, but we are imposing upon the national security space enterprise a crippling organizational and management structure and an acquisition system that has led to delays and cost-overruns.”
While technically under Air Force command, the Space Corps commander would be a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, similar to the Marine Corps’ within the U.S. Navy.
Rogers said the Department of Defense is not sufficiently prepared to protect U.S. space-based assets, “thus Congress has to step in.”
“The adversary will continue to build capabilities to hold our space assets at risk. For that reason, we must act now to fix national security space and put in place a foundation for defending space as a critical element of national security,” Rogers said.
If passed, the Space Corps would go into effect by Jan. 1, 2019.
The Air Force, which currently runs a space command, is pushing back on the suggestion.
“From the Air Force’s perspective, we think right now it’s important to take the capabilities and resources that we have and focus on implementation and integration with the broader force, versus creating a separate service,” Col. Patrick Ryder told AL.com.
Rogers’ bill still needs approval by the full Armed Services Committee, the House and Senate as well as President Donald Trump’s signature before becoming reality.