President Donald Trump plans to go ahead with asking Congress to establish a Space Force as an independent branch of the military — committing to the biggest restructuring of the U.S. military in seven decades, Politico reported Thursday.
Citing a draft presidential directive, Politico reported the first details about the new military service indicate Trump, who has championed the standalone Space Force, is still interested in pursuing an entirely new branch, despite criticism on Capitol Hill and even initially, the Pentagon.
According to Politico, the draft directive dated Nov. 19 calls for the Department of the Space Force to be headed by a civilian secretary — just like the Army, Navy, and Air Force — and either a four-star general or admiral. The latter person would also serve as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
"Under this proposal, the Space Force will organize, train, and equip national security space forces of the United States to ensure unfettered access to and freedom to operate in space, and to provide vital capabilities . . . in peacetime and across the spectrum of conflict," the draft directive says, Politico reported.
The new branch would draw troops from across the military, including the National Guard and Reserves, and be responsible for overseeing the acquisition of all space technologies and weapons, including a new Space Development Agency, Politico reported.
The president also intends to carry out plans already underway at the direction of Congress to establish a U.S. Space Command, according to the draft, Politico reported — and train space forces from all the military branches until a Space Force is established.
An unnamed senior defense official told Politico the proposal is designed to be scaled up or down in size, depending on what option the administration feels could clear Congress.
According to Defense One, those other options include: an Air Force-owned space corps that includes only Air Force assets; an Air Force-owned space corps that also takes space-related troops and assets from the Army and Navy; an independent service that takes from the Air Force, Army, and Navy; and an independent service that takes from the three services plus parts of the intelligence community.
No matter which option is chosen, the new organization is likely to be called "Space Force, according to an Oct. 26 White House memo to the Pentagon, Defense One reported.
According to Defense One, one expert estimated a space force would cost taxpayers an extra $300 million to $550 million each year to make up for the billions of dollars that would be moved from the Air Force, Navy, and Army budgets into the new service.