Are we ready for the first new branch of the armed forces since the Air Force was formed in 1947? You bet your blasters and jet packs!
Hoping to find some wiggle room in the new defense budget and attempting to fill a gaping hole in our response to a hostile alien invasion or international threat delivered from low Earth orbit or beyond, the House Armed Services Committee voted this week 60 to 1 in favor of the formation of a new military branch to be named the United States Space Corps.
It's all part of some agile political maneuvering for this year's National Defense Authorization Act, and due to the enthusiastic response, this measure has a solid chance of passing a full chamber vote to make it official.
If approved, the USSC would become a component of the department of the Air Force similar to the way the Marines are classified as a member of the department of the Navy. The newly created Space Corps’ chief of staff would rank right beside the Air Force chief of staff and report directly to the Secretary of the Air Force.
But not everyone is happy about this restructuring proposal.
“This is sort of a shocking way to hear about a very major reorganization to our military, and I think it deserves at least a couple hearings and discussions on the matter at the full committee level,” said Arizona Representative and Air Force veteran Martha McSally.
Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson is battling it out with congressional colleagues and opponents for a budgetary increase for the beleaguered Air Force.
"This will make it more complex, add more boxes to the organizational chart, and cost more money,” she told reporters. “If I had more money, I would put it into lethality, not bureaucracy."
A space combat scenario is much more plausible to Representative Mike Rogers, R-Alabama, who has been a spirited proponent to the Space Corps plan.
“The Russians and Chinese have realized that if they can take our eyes and ears out, which is what our satellites are, they might actually be able to compete or have an advantage against us," he told NPR last month.
Are you brave cadets with your head in the stars prepared to salute the United States Space Corps, or is this just another superfluous governmental agency wasting taxpayers' money?