House Armed Services chairman casts doubt over Trump's proposed Space Force budget

House Armed Services chairman casts doubt over Trump's proposed Space Force budget

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam SmithDavid (Adam) Adam SmithJudd Gregg: The big, big and bigger problem 'Marketplace of ideas' turns 100 — it's not what it used to be Overnight Defense: Pentagon says Syrian oil revenue going to Kurdish forces | GOP chair accuses Dems of using Space Force as leverage in wall fight | Dems drop plans to seek Bolton testimony MORE (D-Wash.) expressed skepticism on Wednesday that the panel would approve President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump faces high stakes in meeting with Erdoğan amid impeachment drama Democrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Trump threatening to fire Mulvaney: report MORE's Space Force proposal in his fiscal 2020 budget, insisting it was too costly and bureaucratic.

“I cannot imagine that what they proposed is going to happen,” Smith said at the McAleese & Associates conference in Washington, D.C.

“It’s too expensive and creates more bureaucracy. We don't want to just, you know, create more people. We want to figure out how to better emphasize space.”

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The Pentagon’s fiscal 2020 budget asks for $306 million for space-related efforts, including standing up the Space Force headquarters and U.S. Space Command under the Air Force, and establishing a pricey new Space Development Agency, meant to help quickly acquire new space technologies.

The Space Force headquarters is listed at $72.4 million in the budget and U.S. Space Command at $83.8 million, while the Space Development Agency is projected to cost $149.8 million in new funding.

The total effort is expected to cost $2 billion over the next five years.

Smith did say the military should increase resources for space, but noted that the space budget will ultimately be “different from what the White House proposed.”

His major complaint was the added bureaucracy the new military branch will create.

“We don't need three more four-star generals,” Smith said, referring to the administration’s move to create several new, high-ranking positions to lead the new Space Force and U.S. Space Command.

 “Three more four-star generals are not going to make us stronger in space.”

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, when asked about Smith’s remarks, told reporters on Capitol Hill that she looks forward to working with him “and identifying what's important to him and how we can move forward on space.”

Smith's comments are the harshest he’s delivered thus far in addressing Trump’s Space Force efforts. The congressman in the past has expressed skepticism that “creating a whole new bureaucracy” is not the solution to improving the military’s presence in space.

“It costs more money than it nets,” Smith told reporters in December

Rebecca Kheel contributed