Rocketing Costs? The Air Force’s New Price Tag for Trump’s Space Force Shows Why It’s So Unpopular in Congress

September 18, 2018, 10:48 AM UTC

A little more than a month ago, the White House asked Congress for $8 billion to fund the first five years of President Donald Trump’s “Space Force,” the proposed sixth branch of the military. It looks like that figure will fall far short.

The Air Force now has a detailed plan for the Space Force’s establishment, and the price tag for the first five years is $12.9 billion, according to a recent memo from Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson seen by both The Associated Press and Reuters.

The Sept. 14 memo talks about creating a “lethality focused organization that will field space superiority capabilities,” with the focus being on “strategic competition with Russia and China.”

The creation of the Space Force is far from a done deal. Legislation is only expected next year, and Congress will need to give it the all-clear. However, there is considerable pushback from both sides of the aisle, and from within the military.

According to a Monday Politico report, the “anti-Space Force movement” is concerned about the new branch diverting funding from other military programs. The report identifies Republican representatives Steve Knight and Mike Coffman as part of that movement, which is a big problem for the White House as both sit on the House Armed Services committee.

“I have worked to reduce the size of the Pentagon bureaucracy,” Coffman told Politico. “And now we have a plan by this administration to expand that bureaucracy by creating a whole new branch of military service—a department of space—without, I believe, a commensurate increase in capability.”

Coffman said a better idea would be a new Space Command that takes in elements of the existing branches of the military.

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