It appears that the US Air Force has been tasked to help launch the Space Force proposed by President Donald Trump.

Detailed planning for the proposed Space Force is expected to be handed over soon to the U.S. Air Force, a sign that Pentagon leaders — many of whom opposed the notion of consolidating military space operations in a new organization — have found a version that they can support.

In coming weeks, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan is expected to sign a memo asking Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson to stand up a team that will figure out the bureaucratic nuts and bolts of the new space organization, according to a draft of the memo being circulated by top administration and military officials.

Negotiations behind the scenes have restructured the original vision proposed by Trump as a new military branch. Congress is poised to create the new unit, calling for a Space Force within the Department of the Air Force, as the Marine Corps is within the Navy Department.

Wilson said President Donald Trump, who appointed her in 2017, will forward a budget proposal to Congress in March that includes money for his envisioned Space Force, an initiative designed to fit under the umbrella of the Air Force.

The Air Force already provides 90 percent of the space power to the joint force, she said; it operates 80 satellites and has about 14,000 people working on the space mission. “We’re absolutely committed.”

The Defense Department will ask for approximately $270 million in its fiscal year 2020 budget to construct Space Force headquarters, a Space Development Agency and U.S. Space Command.

Once a U.S. Space Force is authorized by Congress, the Defense Department will transfer additional resources from the Air Force to the Space Force in 2021, Daigle wrote. In subsequent years, more resources will be transferred from the Army and the Navy “in order to fully implement an independent U.S. Space Force service.”

The new branch would sit within the Department of the Air Force. Once Congress authorizes a Space Force, the first step will be for the Pentagon to nominate its leaders — a space undersecretary, a chief of staff and a vice chief of staff. The headquarters would be staffed with a combination of Air Force and other service transfers, new hires, details and contractors. The next phase would be the transfer of program management responsibilities and personnel from the Air Force, Army and Navy to the Space Force. That would likely take several years, according to the CAPE memo. “The department recommends a phased approach.”

And while all systems seem to be “GO” for the Space Force, author and space expert Mark Whittington warns that the biggest danger this branch faces is the “Green New Deal“.

Unknown to most people, the Green New Deal effectively bans space travel. The reason is that rocket launches create harmful emissions, some of which are greenhouse gasses, some of which are harmful in other ways, such as causing damage to the ozone layer. Scientific American has a good rundown of the potential problems rocket exhaust may cause, especially if Elon Musk’s and Jeff Bezos’ dreams of space travel being as common as air travel come to fruition.

…Ocasio-Cortez and her advisors have not thought about the Green New Deal’s implications for space travel, but following the plan’s logic, one can safely conclude that rocket ships would be banned upon its implementation, whether or not rocket exhaust causes actual harm to the environment.

To be fair, the “Green New Deal” supporters have not thought a great deal about very much. Hopefully, the US Air Force team will keep the Space Force on a successful trajectory.

 
 
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