Shelby, Durbin Seem Skeptical of Space Force

Shelby, Durbin Seem Skeptical of Space Force

Two key senators didn’t seem all the way on board with the creation of a Space Force during a subcommittee hearing Wednesday with Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the top Democrat on the Defense Appropriations subcommittee, said the new branch could become an “uncontrollable” bureaucracy, according to CQ.

Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said Durbin was raising some “serious questions” and added one of his own: “What does this do to the Air Force?”

Wilson, who is leaving her position in May and has at times been critical of the Space Force proposal, said the plan “will elevate and enhance the influence of space leaders in the Pentagon for the long haul.”

The Trump administration’s budget asks for about $72 million to set the Space Force up as a separate branch within the Air Force, but Congress needs to authorize the branch before it can fund it.

Wilson’s principal assistant for space, John Stopher, is leading a task force that “is aggressively working through all of the important details that have to be completed” to deliver the plan to the Pentagon by March 22, Stopher told SpaceNews, which reported that the strategy will likely be a five-year phase-in plan.


U.S. Air Force photo by Wayne Clark


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