NASA administrator says he supports Trump's space force

NASA administrator says he supports Trump's space force
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NASA administrator Jim BridenstineJames (Jim) Frederick BridenstineTrump pick for top NASA role has no past experience in space operations Appeals court nominees languish in Senate as Flake demands tariff vote NASA needs Janet Kavandi if we’re going to make it back to the moon — then Mars MORE said on Wednesday that he would support President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff: Surveillance warrant docs show that Nunes memo 'misrepresented and distorted these applications' Chicago detention facility under investigation following allegations of abuse of migrant children Ex-Trump aide: Surveillance warrants are 'complete ignorance' and 'insanity' MORE's recently announced “space force," as the sixth military service branch. 

"When you think about the history of this, people have forever believed that space was a sanctuary and it is not. It is becoming more contested, more congested and more competitive than ever before. And in order to preserve space, we have to be willing to defend it," Bridenstine told Axios

Bridenstine, who is a former Navy fighter pilot, cited numerous threats to U.S. satellites as his reason for supporting the space force. 

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"It is not just direct ascent anti-satellite missiles, it's co-orbital anti-satellite capabilities, it's jamming, it's dazzling, it's spoofing, it's hacking, all of these threats are proliferating at a pace we have never seen before, and the Chinese are calling space the American Achilles's heel," he told the outlet. 

The NASA administrator said that while he supported the newly announced force, he thinks it should remain under the control of the Defense Department. 

"Now this isn't NASA's role, it isn't NASA's function but I think it is important to note that the NASA administrator supports our astronauts and billion-dollar-plus investments being protected," he told the outlet. 

Bridenstine, who served as a Republican congressman, was on the House Armed Services Committee last year when it pushed the idea of a Space Corps. 

The committee tried but failed to establish a separate space corps within the Air Forcein its annual defense policy bill. Air Force leaders, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford all opposed it.

Trump formally directed the Pentagon to establish the force earlier this month after he first floated the idea in March. 

“You know, I was saying it the other day — because we’re doing a tremendous amount of work in space — I said, ‘Maybe we need a new force, we’ll call it the Space Force.’ ” Trump said.