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

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

Former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly says President TrumpDonald John TrumpPentagon update to missile defense doctrine will explore space-base technologies, lasers to counter threats Giuliani: 'I never said there was no collusion' between the Trump campaign and Russia Former congressmen, RNC members appointed to Trump administration roles 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.


"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 RogersEarmarks look to be making a comeback Divided Congress to clash over Space Force, nuclear arsenal CIA's ‘surveillance state’ is operating against us all MORE (R-Ala.) and Jim CooperJames (Jim) Hayes Shofner CooperThe 15 Democrats who voted against Pelosi House elects Pelosi to second Speakership Live coverage: House elects new Speaker as Dems take charge 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 MattisFox's Griffin: Was told by diplomat that Syria attack was 'direct result' of US pullout decision GOP reasserts NATO support after report on Trump’s wavering Overnight Defense: Trump faces blowback over report he discussed leaving NATO | Pentagon extends mission on border | Senate advances measure bucking Trump on Russia sanctions 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.”