On Thursday, high-ranking officials at the Pentagon used old arguments for a new military division in the Department of the Air Force that specializes in space defense, Roll Call reports. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan argued to the Senate Armed Service Committee that the U.S. is slipping in terms of space technology development with programs in Russia and China rapidly catching up. He urged the Pentagon to support the Space Force to promote extraterrestrial commercial and military interests.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph F. Dunford Jr., Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson, and leader of Strategic Command General John Hyten also gave testimony supporting Shanahan and the White House's proposed Space Force.
Trump has touted his Space Force plan in the past, and the arguments for it largely resemble a bill passed by the House in 2017 that would have created a Space Corps program within the Air Force. The provision, however, was not in the final 2018 defense authorization bill.
But just as they were in 2017, senators and Armed Service members, especially among the Democrats, remain doubtful of the importance of the Space Force.
“My impression is you’re all doing a good job,” said a Maine independent Angus King who caucuses with Democrats. “I understand the threat. But I don’t understand how adding a box to an organization chart is going to give us some kind of qualitative military edge.”