Senior Pentagon officials were scheduled to meet with the White House Tuesday to discuss preparations for a Space Force as soon as Congress authorizes a new military branch, SpaceNews reported Monday.
A White House source told SpaceNews the meeting will be a “routine DOD update” related to the anticipated establishment of a new military service, according to the report.
Preparations for a sixth military branch space service under the Air Force have continued despite ongoing political controversies and no congressional assurances that it will establish a Space Force in the fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the report said.
With NDAA conference negotiations in progress, there is Pentagon apprehension that the ongoing congressional gridlock will keep defense policy and funding bills from getting passed.
One potential solution, sources told SpaceNews, would be an abbreviated NDAA that might include some Space Force language but perhaps not everything the Pentagon wants, according to the report.
The House NDAA establishes a Space Corps as a sixth branch of the armed forces within the Air Force. However, the Senate NDAA establishes a Space Force but not as a sixth branch of the armed forces.
House appropriators approved $13.5 million to “study and refine plans for the potential establishment of a Space Force.” Senate appropriators funded the DoD’s requested amount of $72.4 million for the Space Force.
The ongoing debate has prompted concerns, especially in the Senate, about the potential cost of a new military branch, and committees continue to ask DOD tough questions, according to the report.
Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Andrew Satran