The White House still expects that the Space Force will eventually be its own branch of the military, despite signals from the Pentagon that the program will be housed under the Air Force.
“It’s going to be small, as small as possible footprint,” Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told reporters this week.
The Pentagon plan, to be submitted to the White House as part of the department’s 2020 budget request, would establish a Space Force that is similar to the Marine Corps, which is housed within the Department of the Navy. The Space Force would have its own four-star chief of staff and a civilian undersecretary, according to Space News.
But a draft White House policy memo, which Space News said it has reviewed, states that the setup is a “first step toward a future military department for national security space” to be created after “periodic” reviews from DOD.
Some in Congress have been reluctant to support the creation of a new department.
“I want to emphasize space,” House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) said, according to Space News. “I don’t want to create more bureaucracy for the sake of bureaucracy.”
U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Ralph Branson