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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 SmithOvernight Defense: Armed Services chairman unsold on slashing defense budget | Democratic Senate report details 'damage, chaos' of Trump foreign policy | Administration approves .8B Taiwan arms sales Democratic House chairman trusts Pentagon won't follow 'unlawful orders' on election involvement Democratic chairman 'unconvinced' by arguments to slash defense budget, but open to debate MORE (D-Wash.) expressed skepticism on Wednesday that the panel would approve President TrumpDonald John TrumpObama slams Trump in Miami: 'Florida Man wouldn't even do this stuff' Trump makes his case in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin Pence's chief of staff tests positive for COVID-19 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