By CAROLINE BECK, Alabama Daily News
Vice President Mike Pence announced yesterday his promotion of creating a new military branch, the United Space Force.
The move could be good news for Alabama’s Redstone Arsenal Facility based out of Huntsville, and a few lawmakers have already came out in support of the new force as welll.
Congressman Mike Rogers from Alabama’s third district said on Twitter that he was very excited that the administration was finally taking steps to develop this space defence program.
I look forward to continuing to work with the administration on the establishment of a much-needed independent Space Force and appreciate @realDonaldTrump‘s leadership on this vital issue to our National Security. #SpaceForce
— Mike Rogers (@RepMikeRogersAL) August 9, 2018
Congressman Mo Brooks of Alabama’s fifth district, which encompasses Huntsville, also released a statement yesterday saying how important implementing this new branch of the military was.
He highlights the growing threats from Russia and China when it comes to advancements in space technology and missile defence systems and how important it is to keep the U.S. up to date with the latest advancements in technology.
“America’s military relies heavily on its space assets to secure our homeland against potential attackers,” Brooks said. “In this age of highly advanced weaponry, many of our most lethal and crucial weapons systems depend on global positioning satellites to function properly, and Chinese and Russian anti-satellite weaponry threaten those assets. For this reason, a dedicated Space Force is critical to protecting America’s national security interests and freedoms against those who would destroy them.”
The threat of anti-satellite weaponry is a real thing that Pentagon officials and aerospace experts have warned about, reports The New York Times. These kinds of weapons could easily wipe out the U.S.’s ability to communicate with military operations on the ground overseas, as well as many troops depending on GPS satellites to coordinate their missions.
Both Brooks and Rogers sit on the House Armed Services Committee, which is another contributing reason the two are so outspoken with their support of the program already. Rogers has also said that he’s been fighting for a development of this kind in U.S. defences for years.
Rogers said in a press release from the Armed Services Committee website: “We have been warning for years of the need to protect our space assets and to develop more capable space systems. We are glad that the Pentagon is finally taking these steps in enhancing our space strength. This new report was required by last year’s NDAA legislation and will be helpful in speeding up acquisitions of more advanced systems, as well as giving our space professionals more clout.”
Pence said that he hopes to get the program up and running by 2020 and asked Congress to appropriate another $8 billion for space security systems over the next five years.
Congress is the only one who can approve a new branch of the military and with the heavily partisan congress of today, another increase in military spending will no doubt face a lot of pushback.
Al.com’s Lee Roop reported that the Department of Defense did release five steps the DOD could take before Congress decides to create the new force or not.
– Create a United States Space Command, a unified combatant command, to improve, evolve, and plan space warfighting.
– Accelerate space technology and development initiatives, which were modernization priorities laid out in President Trump’s National Defense Strategy;
– Establish a Space Development Agency charged with developing and fielding new next-generation capabilities for national security space development;
– Establish a Space Operations Force of professionals who will form a new community of experts working to lead America’s national security space efforts into the future;
– Establish an operating structure and accountable civilian oversight for Space Force.
Caroline Beck is a reporter living in Montgomery. Follow her on Twitter @CarolineBeckADN or email her at Caroline@aldailynews.com