Lest you had any doubts about whether Space Force is really happening, it looks like the Pentagon is getting ready to go through with it.
Space Force would have a total of six bases in California, Colorado, and Florida, according to a draft of the Pentagon’s plan for the service that was obtained by Defense One. The internal plan also delves into creating a Space National Guard and Space Force Reserve.
In the draft plan, Space Force would absorb some of the Army, Navy, and Air Force’s space capabilities, but those services would still have people and equipment for their individual space needs, Defense One first reported on Monday.
The National Reconnaissance Office, which is in charge of the nation’s ultra-secret spy satellites, would remain independent from Space Force under the plan cited by Defense One. Space Force would also not be in charge of monitoring for nuclear missile launches and other missions “that are tangentially associated with space,” according to Defense One.
A Pentagon spokesman declined to comment on the draft plan.
It is not yet clear whether the internal plan reported by Defense One has support from the White House or if it is still a working draft that could change significantly before it is finalized, Todd Harrison, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Task & Purpose.
The Trump administration’s goal is to create Space Force as the sixth branch of the U.S. military by 2020, but that would require Congress’ approval. That could prove to be tricky if the Democrats take the House in next month’s midterm elections.
“For the past 20 years, space reorganization has not been a partisan political issue, but that could change if the president continues to use it as a rallying cry for fundraising and at campaign events,” Harrison told Task & Purpose. “This would make it very hard for Democrats to support a Space Force even if they may agree on the merits.”
Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., has been an outspoken opponent of Space Force. Should the Democrats become the majority in the House, Smith could become the next chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.
When Defense One reported in September that Space Force could cost $13 billion over five years, Smith said that was too much money.
“This is an initial estimate, but it suggests just how costly President Trump’s plan for a separate ‘Space Force’ would be,” Smith told Task & Purpose on Sept. 18. “That is a major reason why I am opposed to his request.”