House panel OKs space military branch

House panel OKs space military branch
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The House Armed Services Committee early Thursday signed off on creating a new military branch dedicated to space.

The committee approved by voice vote an amendment to create the military service in its version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

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The proposal is similar to President TrumpDonald John TrumpBooker hits Biden's defense of remarks about segregationist senators: 'He's better than this' Booker hits Biden's defense of remarks about segregationist senators: 'He's better than this' Trump says Democrats are handing out subpoenas 'like they're cookies' MORE’s proposal for a Space Force — but calls the new service Space Corps in line with the House’s original 2017 idea for the service. 

“So the Space Corps is as close as we could make it to the proposal that passed this committee overwhelmingly,” said Rep. Jim CooperJames (Jim) Hayes Shofner CooperHouse panel OKs space military branch House panel OKs space military branch Overnight Defense: Officials approved sending Saudis nuclear technology after Khashoggi killing | Space Command pick warns of challenges ahead | Lawmakers clash over bill blocking low-yield nukes MORE (D-Tenn.), who sponsored the amendment. “It is not a $13 billion expenditure, a gold-plated plan like had been proposed to us by the secretary of the Air Force. It is instead a reorganization so that space professionals can be properly recognized for their skill and ability and promoted.”

Rep. Mike RogersMichael (Mike) Dennis RogersHillicon Valley: Facebook unveils new cryptocurrency | Waters wants company to halt plans | Democrats look to force votes on election security | Advertisers partner with tech giants on 'digital safety' | House GOP unveils cyber agenda Hillicon Valley: Facebook unveils new cryptocurrency | Waters wants company to halt plans | Democrats look to force votes on election security | Advertisers partner with tech giants on 'digital safety' | House GOP unveils cyber agenda House Homeland Security Republicans to introduce slew of cybersecurity bills MORE (R-Ala.), who co-sponsored the amendment, similarly said the amendment is “almost identical to what passed out of this committee nearly unanimously.”

Under the amendment, Space Corps would be an independent military branch within the Department of the Air Force in a structure similar to how the Marine Corps is within the Department of the Navy.

The proposal would create a new commandant of the Space Corps, who would join the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Initially, only space personnel from the Air Force would be moved over, with the ability for Navy and Army to volunteer to move into the new service.

“This is the initial standing up of the service. We can come back next year and look at bringing those professionals in,” Rogers said of requiring Navy and Army space personnel to move. “This is going to be an evolving product over the next four to five years and we’re going to have time to deal with those.”

Before Space Corps becomes a reality, however, the proposal will have to survive the House floor.

It will also have to be reconciled with the Senate version of the NDAA, which would create a Space Force within the Department of the Air Force but has some differences with the House NDAA in the details.