UPDATED 11:35 AM PT — Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan recently reiterated the need for a Space Force. While speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies Wednesday, Shanahan said the force is needed to protect the U.S.
“We can’t afford to lose our margin of dominance,” he stated. “What is vital is that we protect a $19 trillion economy and the systems our military runs on.”
The acting defense secretary said China and Russia already treat space as a war fighting domain. He mentioned China is rapidly growing its presence in space. Shanahan said their government put 38 rockets in orbit last year, which is more than double the 17 the U.S. launched in 2018.
The proposed Space Force would be a potential sixth military branch, with about 15,000 to 20,000 personnel. It would be under the Department of the Air Force (DAF), which is similar to the Marine Corps’ relationship with the Navy.
The Pentagon has requested more than $72 million for fiscal year 2020 to set up the branch. It submitted its proposal to Congress, which must authorize the new service.
“To move forward effectively, space needs an advocate — that advocate will be the Space Force,” stated Shanahan.