Ex-astronaut: Trump's plan for a Space Force 'redundant,' 'wasteful'

Ex-astronaut: Trump's plan for a Space Force 'redundant,' 'wasteful'
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Former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly says President TrumpDonald John TrumpWatergate prosecutor says that Sondland testimony was 'tipping point' for Trump In private moment with Trump, Justice Kennedy pushed for Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination: book Obama: 'Everybody needs to chill out' about differences between 2020 candidates MORE's plan for a military branch with jurisdiction over outer space is "redundant" and "wasteful."

Kelly, who participated in several NASA missions to the International Space Station, said during an interview Thursday on MSNBC that Trump is the only person who thinks a "Space Force" is a good idea.

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"The only person that I’ve heard say this is a fantastic idea is the commander in chief, the president of the United States," Kelly said. "Everybody else says it’s redundant, it's wasteful."

"There is a threat out there," he added, "but it's being handled by the U.S. Air Force today, doesn't make sense to build a whole other level of bureaucracy in an incredibly bureaucratic [Defense Department]," he added. 

Still, some lawmakers have expressed support for Trump's plan to create a Space Force.

The leaders of a House Armed Services subommittee praised Trump's plan in a joint statement on Thursday, calling it a "much-needed" advancement of U.S. defense policy.

“We have been warning for years of the need to protect our space assets and to develop more capable space systems," Reps. Mike RogersMichael (Mike) Dennis RogersThe Hill's Campaign Report: Red-state governors races pose test for Trump Trump takes pulse of GOP on Alabama Senate race Overnight Defense: House approves Turkey sanctions in rebuke of Trump | Trump attacks on Army officer testifying spark backlash | Dems want answers from Esper over Ukraine aid MORE (R-Ala.) and Jim CooperJames (Jim) Hayes Shofner CooperOvernight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — Buttigieg targets Warren, Sanders on health care ahead of debate | Judge overturns ObamaCare transgender protections | Poll sees support drop for 'Medicare for All' The Memo: Democrats plunge into politics of impeachment Taylor Swift 'obsessed' with politics, says she's cautious about celebrity support backfiring for Democrats MORE (D-Tenn.) said.

"We particularly appreciate Deputy Secretary [Patrick] Shanahan’s leadership on these issues and look forward to the establishment of a much-needed independent Space Force, as called for by President Trump,” they said.

The Republican-controlled House nearly added a provision to the annual defense reauthorization bill that would have created a "Space Corps" under the jurisdiction of the Air Force, but the provision was dropped from the final bill after facing opposition from the Senate and Pentagon leaders, including Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisOvernight Defense: Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators | Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract decision in court | Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families Amazon to challenge Pentagon's 'war cloud' decision in federal court Former Mattis staffer: Trump 'shooting himself in the foot' on foreign policy MORE.

Trump first announced his plans to create a military branch for space in March. In June, he directed the Pentagon to begin creating the military branch.

“When it comes to defending America, it is not enough to merely have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space,” the president said at the time. “We are going to have the Air Force and we are going to have the Space Force, separate but equal.”