NextGov reports that the House Armed Services Committee is expected to approve a modified version of the Pentagon's proposal for a new space defense branch -- a.ka. "Space Force" -- as part of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act markup this week. However, Democratic committee members urged their fellow lawmakers to not think of the idea as a victory for President Donald J.Trump, let alone it being the commander-in-chief's idea.
“Don’t think of this as, ‘if you’re for the Space Force, that means you 100-percent support President Trump,’” chairman Adam Smith, D-Wash said on Monday. “We were talking about this long before the president even knew Space Force could possibly have existed. He grabbed onto it. But this isn’t about him.”
“This isn’t about whether we’re going to support one of his proposals or give him a win — I don’t care about that,” he continued. “I want to organize our space assets in the most efficient, effective way possible.”
“The main difference from the administration’s approach is less bureaucracy. We don’t have three four-stars, we only have the one,” Smith said of the streamlined House proposal. “There’s a lot less mandatory transfers of personnel into the Space Command."
A source told NextGov that despite previous opposition to the idea, "The HASC deal anticipates a seat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff for space...and that the GOP was 'very gratified with where things currently stand'"
“The fact that it’s independent is the next step that we’re taking,” the aide told NextGov's Katie Bo Williams.
However, the source also predicted that the new branch will be called Space Corps and not Space Force, in the amendment to the act.
President Trump introduced the idea of Space Force in 2018, and officially signed an order directing the Pentagon to establish the Space Force in February of this year. However, before they can officially do so, Congress needs to approve of the branch which appears could happen as part of the 2020 NDAA.