President Trump today signed Space Policy Directive 4, directing the Pentagon to craft a proposal to create a new military service for space.
According to the text of the directive, released today, the proposed Space Force will fall under the Air Force's purview, similar to the Marine Corps' relationship to the Navy. If approved by Congress, the new service will consolidate existing Defense Department space programs and personnel "as appropriate" in order to "minimize duplication of effort and eliminate bureaucratic inefficiencies."
In a Feb. 19 statement, the Air Force called the new directive "bold," stating that it "guarantees American dominance in space."
"If enacted, it will be our responsibility to deter and defeat threats in space through the U.S. Space Force, which will organize, train, and equip military space forces," the Air Force said in a statement. "It will be our obligation to ensure unfettered access to, and freedom to operate in space, and to provide vital capabilities to joint and coalition forces."
House Republicans praised the directive, with House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Mac Thornberry (R-TX) calling it "an important next step towards real reform of national security space."
Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), ranking member of the House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee, said in a statement that the signing "is the first step in a process which may create the capabilities we need to ensure our success in the domain of space."
"As we look towards Congress's responsibility in legislating further on this issue, I look forward to working with my counterparts on the strategic forces subcommittee to ensure that the President's proposal satisfies our space needs, is cost effective, and results in increased capabilities," wrote Turner, who has pushed back on past attempts by lawmakers to create a separate military service for space, advocating for continued study of the issue.
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), former chair of the strategic forces subcommittee and an outspoken proponent of reforming space organization and management, said today he is "glad to see the progress we have made toward finally doing something about it."
"I want to thank President Trump for the work he did to draw attention to the threat," Rogers said. "I look forward to seeing the final proposal as part of the President's budget and continuing our bipartisan work here in the Congress."