September 20, 2018
WASHINGTON — The effort to launch a proposal for the Space Force service branch has too much focus on things like uniforms and not enough on the streamline mission at the core of the corps’ reason for being created, a top Pentagon official Wednesday.
Nevertheless, Deputy Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan said the Pentagon will send a tight, focused plan on how to launch the Space Force to Congress in February.
“While there’s plenty of debate about the how, we are united by the why: Protecting our economy and deterring our adversaries, and focused on delivering more capability faster,” Shanahan said in remarks to the Air Force’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference. “Along the way, we will do no harm to existing missions, create no seams between the services, and remain laser-focused on our warfighters and the capabilities they need to win.”
Shanahan insisted that the legislative proposal for the Space Force with be taut and focused. “Its headquarters will be lean, with every possible resource devoted to enhancing our capabilities,” Shanahan said.
He appeared at the conference two days after Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson estimated that launching the new service branch would cost $13 billion in the first five years. She also suggested locating the proposed Space Development Agency under the Air Force’s Space Rapid Capabilities Office.
That cost estimate startled some members of Congress already fretting about a new bureaucracy that would need a service academy, a new top ranked officer, a civilian secretary and other costs.
Shanahan said there was no road map to creating a new service branch since that last time it occurred was with the Air Force in 1947. He said it is already a challenge trying to whittle down all the ideas from many areas as to what a Space Force should be and do.
“We’re really wrestling with the how,” Shanahan said. “To do a Venn diagram on what it is we want to accomplish — everything lays on top of one another.”