On June 27th, the Trump administration space force framework bill passed the Senate, and is now awaiting House approval. About two weeks after, Vice President Mike Pence gave a speech at Vandenberg Air Force Base, saying, “We’re working with members of Congress, and I’m proud to report legislation is already moving through the House and the Senate to establish the United States Space Force. And it’ll soon be a reality.,”
The approval in the House givesthe future 6th branch of the US Military under a different name, the Space Corps. Like the Marine Corps, the Space Corps willbe led by a four-star Commandant who would be a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Space News quoted the Cooper-Rogers amendment as saying, “The Space Corps will have personnel and assets transferred by the Air Force but may not include the personnel or assets of the National Reconnaissance Office or the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.”
The specifics of how the Space Force (or Space Corps, if the House proposal prevails) will be formed, staffed, and funded were negotiated in closed-door meetings on Capitol Hill and at the Pentagon. According to Space News, the administration and the Senate are still at odds on multiple fronts. One key disagreement is over the basic organization. The administration is still pushing its original proposal to stand up the service as soon as Congress enacts it, and set it up the mold of the other branches. The Department of Defense would create a Space Force headquarters in the Pentagon,led by a four-star Chief of Staff, a four-star Vice Chief of Staff and an undersecretary of the Air Force for space.
The Senate Armed Services Committee doesn’t want to hastily establish anything. Instead, it directed a one-year transition during which the Space Force would be run by the commander of U.S. Space Command Gen. John Raymond, who would be dual-hatted as commander of the Space Force and of U.S. Space Command. After the one-year transition, the DoD would submit to Congress a plan to give the Space Force its own commander who would be a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
On July 13th French President Emmanuel Macron approved of the creation of a space command within the French Air Force to improve the country’s defenses. “To give substance to this doctrine and ensure the development and reinforcement of our space capabilities, a space command will be created next September in the air force,” Macron said, adding that it would later become the Space and Air Force. Reuters reported the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) aims to recognize space as a domain of warfare this year. The French military spending program for 2019-2025 has earmarked 3.6 billion euros ($4.06 billion) for investments and renewal of French satellites.
Award winning ThinkTank Chatham House published a research paper on July 1st identifying weaknesses of satellites during cyberwarfare. According to the Hill, “The report warns that policymakers need to grasp the full impact of these cyber vulnerabilities. The key will be shaping the approach to space security in the right way. In this regard, the Trump administration has given too much attention to so-called ‘dominance’ in space and not much on how a Space Force would be configured. There is a better way, taking into account the importance of space to U.S. security and the best way to defend existing and future assets.”