President Trump is considering replacing Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson after next month’s midterm elections because he does not feel she is moving quickly enough to establish a Space Force as an independent military branch, Foreign Policy reported on Thursday.
- The White House was not satisfied with the Air Force’s initial draft plan for Space Force this summer, and it was even more put off after Wilson sent a memo to Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan estimating that Space Force would cost $13 billion over its first five years, Foreign Policy’s Lara Seligman reported.
- Chief Pentagon Spokesperson Dana White issued a strong denial of the story on Thursday. “This is nonsense,” she said in a statement to task & Purpose. “The Department of Defense leadership team is focused on defending our great nation and working together to be worthy of the blood, treasure and faith entrusted to us by the American people.”
- An Air Force spokeswoman referred questions about the Foreign Policy story to the White House, which did not respond to requests for comment from Task & Purpose by deadline.
- Media outlets have speculated recently that Trump would also replace Defense Secretary James Mattis after the midterm elections, but so far Mattis has dismissed the reporting as rumors. The defense secretary has also said his relationship with Trump is good.
- “Of course I don’t think about leaving,” Mattis told reporters on Sept. 18. “I love it here. I’m thinking about retiring right here. I’ll get a little place down on the Potomac.”
UPDATE: This story was updated at 8:45 a.m. on Oct. 5 to include a statement from Pentagon Chief Spokesperson Dana White.