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Air Force may take command of proposed Space Force

Published: Tuesday, December 10, 2019 @ 6:21 PM
Updated: Tuesday, December 10, 2019 @ 6:21 PM

The proposed 2020 National Defense Authorization Act would create a new Space Force, but put it under the command of the Air Force, according to a compromise $738 billion defense policy bill.(NASA)
mikiell/Getty Images/iStockphoto
The proposed 2020 National Defense Authorization Act would create a new Space Force, but put it under the command of the Air Force, according to a compromise $738 billion defense policy bill.(NASA)(mikiell/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The proposed 2020 National Defense Authorization Act would create a new Space Force, but put it under the command of the Air Force, according to a compromise $738 billion defense policy bill.

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The legislation would create a “chief of space operations” for the President Trump’s proposed Space Force.

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The new Space Force is expected to be a separate department under the Department of the Air Force. The new chief would report to the Air Force secretary and would be a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to national reports.

According to the Federal News Network, the rest of Space Force personnel would come from existing Air Force billets “to minimize cost and bureaucracy,” and the bill would create two new Senate-confirmed positions: An assistant secretary of the Air Force for space acquisition and integration, and an assistant secretary of Defense for space policy.

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, said it should become clear over time what the new force means for Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the Dayton region. “The Space Force initially is to focus on areas of both acquisition in space and then operability as to how we look to protect our assets and ensure they respond to our national-security concerns,” Turner said. “It’s going to be an evolving process.”

Turner said he has been speaking with U.S. Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett about how Wright-Patterson can play a role in the emerging Space Force.

“Communication, navigation, information: everything is dependent upon space, but people don’t recognize that,” Barrett recently said at the Ronald Reagan National Defense Forum in California. “There isn’t a constituency for space — even though almost everyone uses space before their first cup of coffee in the morning.”

Leaders of the Ohio Air National Guard 178th Wing based in Springfield have said they have been approached by national authorities about having a role in a new Space Force, an idea the wing has readily embraced.