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I am honored to be here today with my friend and equal partner in this multi-year effort, Mike Rogers of Alabama. This is an excellent example of how friendship across the aisle, and the state line, can get good things done.
We need to establish a Space Force because we need to keep world-wide GPS safe, world-wide ATMs safe, and, most importantly, to keep YOU safe.
This is not a Trump idea. He tried to hijack it long after the House Armed Services Committee voted 60-1, on a totally bipartisan and nearly unanimous basis, to establish a Space Corps. Trump’s belated support for a Space Force does not make this a Republican idea.
Focus on space has been bipartisan since the first Pentagon space command in 1985, an initiative that was sadly terminated in 2002 when America got distracted by the War on Terror. Our adversaries and potential adversaries were not distracted. Since 2002, they have relentlessly pursued anti-US strategies against our literally defenseless satellites. Sadly, they have made space a war-fighting domain. On behalf of the free world, we must respond.
What’s the difference between a Space Corps and a Space Force? One word.
The language in this year’s NDAA is primarily the old Space Corps language which passed HASC this year unanimously. The vision that Mike Rogers and I had in 2017 was to separate space from the traditional Air Force because the Air Force was neglecting its space mission and not performing as well as the NRO. We wanted a new independent service under the Air Force, just as the Marine Corps is under the Department of Navy. Our vision was not to spend much money on the Space Corps, but to put Air Force space money under new management. The only additional authorization in this bill for a Space Force in 2020 is $72 million, or less than 0.0001 of Pentagon spending.
To be sure, this is just the beginning of a long effort to birth a new military service, America’s sixth, but it is long overdue and we all must ensure a safe delivery.
We look forward to your questions.