House panel OKs space military branch

House panel OKs space military branch
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The House Armed Services Committee early Thursday signed off on creating a new military branch dedicated to space.

The committee approved by voice vote an amendment to create the military service in its version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

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The proposal is similar to President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Democrats worried by Jeremy Corbyn's UK rise amid anti-Semitism Warren, Buttigieg duke it out in sprint to 2020 MORE’s proposal for a Space Force — but calls the new service Space Corps in line with the House’s original 2017 idea for the service. 

“So the Space Corps is as close as we could make it to the proposal that passed this committee overwhelmingly,” said Rep. 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.), who sponsored the amendment. “It is not a $13 billion expenditure, a gold-plated plan like had been proposed to us by the secretary of the Air Force. It is instead a reorganization so that space professionals can be properly recognized for their skill and ability and promoted.”

Rep. Mike RogersMichael (Mike) Dennis RogersHouse passes defense bill to establish Space Force, paid family leave for federal workers Hillicon Valley: FCC moves against Huawei, ZTE | Dem groups ask Google to reconsider ads policy | Bill introduced to increase data access during probes House GOP criticizes impeachment drive as distracting from national security issues MORE (R-Ala.), who co-sponsored the amendment, similarly said the amendment is “almost identical to what passed out of this committee nearly unanimously.”

Under the amendment, Space Corps would be an independent military branch within the Department of the Air Force in a structure similar to how the Marine Corps is within the Department of the Navy.

The proposal would create a new commandant of the Space Corps, who would join the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Initially, only space personnel from the Air Force would be moved over, with the ability for Navy and Army to volunteer to move into the new service.

“This is the initial standing up of the service. We can come back next year and look at bringing those professionals in,” Rogers said of requiring Navy and Army space personnel to move. “This is going to be an evolving product over the next four to five years and we’re going to have time to deal with those.”

Before Space Corps becomes a reality, however, the proposal will have to survive the House floor.

It will also have to be reconciled with the Senate version of the NDAA, which would create a Space Force within the Department of the Air Force but has some differences with the House NDAA in the details.