Jump-starting US’ Space Force underwhelms, concerns lawmakers


WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) — The President’s defense budget calls for a start up of the Space Force as part of the Air Force. The Pentagon says it’s moving as quickly as possible but Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan says the United States’ superiority in space is under threat from our adversaries.

The bottom line is the next major conflict may be won or lost in space.

Shanahan says both China and Russia have weaponized space by targeting our satellites, saying:

“Both China and Russia have weaponized space with the intent to hold American capabilities at risk.”

Shanahan told senators on the Armed Forces Committee that the Pentagon will move ahead with plans to launch a Space Force. He says the goal is to have a team based inside the Pentagon devoted entirely to space by 2024. 

But lawmakers from both parties are not enthusiastic.

West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin says it’s a waste of resources, saying: “This doesn’t make sense to me. I’m having a real hard time understanding why you need this other agency. You’ve got everything at your disposal now.”

Iowa Republican Joni Ernst says she’s concerned the Space Force will divert critical resources.

“I guess we need some convincing that there’s a necessity for a sixth branch within our armed services. And the implications on what that might do to hollow out some of the other forces.”

The President’s 2020 budget calls for $72 million spent next year to round out the Space Force with 200 employees. 

Arkansa Republican Senator Tom Cotton says that if America wants to be first, the country needs to be willing to make sacrifices. Cotton said:

“We don’t really get a choice on whether we want to fight in space. We only get a choice whether we want to win or lose in space.”

The House plans to hold its own Space Force hearing in June.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Don’t Miss

Join the Pro Football Challenge
Sunday Morning Matters
MedWatch Today
Hispanic Heritage
Bulldog Insider: The Podcast
The Valley's Armenia
Pros Who Know

CBS47 On Your Side

Do you have a problem that you need help solving? Contact Investigative Reporter Erik Rosales and let him be

On Your Side.

Email erikrosales@cbsfresno.com

Images from Armenia

Small patients in Armenia
Yerevan by night.
Dr. Jeff Thomas delivers.
Dr. Jeff Thomas delivers in Gyumri.
Doctors unpack medical supplies from The Central Valley.
Fresno Medical Mission at work.
Medical Supplies being unloaded.
Fresno Medical Mission at the ready.
KSEE24 crew witnesses the miracle of life in Gyumri, Armenia.
Life saving work of Central Valley surgeons in Armenia.
Ribbon cutting on new surgical center in Ashtarak Armenia. Fresno donors made this dream come true.
KSEE24 on assignment with the Fresno Medical Mission
Honorary Consulate to Armenia Berj Apkarian explains the crisis facing one hospital.
KSEE24's Stefani Booroojian and Kevin Mahan at the meeting with President Bako Sahakyan.
Medical Meeting in Artsakh.
The President of Artsakh meets with the Fresno Medical Mission.
Learning modern medicine techniques with the Fresno Medical Mission in surgery.
Leaning in for a look. Dr. Brien Tonkinson holds class and helps a patient in Armenia.
Fresno Medical Mission cares on one of the smallest patients in the region. Six-year old Yanna receives life-changing better breathing surgery.