Last weekend, an NPR radio personality sat down with Republican Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama about a bipartisan bill that would create a new part of the military for space operations, called Space Corps.
Then Wednesday, The house armed services committee voted to moving forward with the creation of a Space Corps. Overall, they voted against an amendment that had been forwarded by Rep. Mike Turner, a republican from Ohio.
“This mark is asking us to do something we have not done since 1947”, said Mike Turner
Mike says that he mostly concerned that we haven’t risen to the level of knowledge for us to make this kind of decision.
The new branch of the Military would be housed by the Air Force, but leaders of the National Air Force are concerned that this will create unneeded bureaucracy with in the branch.
Other reps that were present on Wednesday seem to be in the same belief that this is necessary but are concerned about the fact that it wasn’t voiced over by a more inclusive subcommittee.
“this is honestly the first time I’ve heard about a major reorganization to our Air Force,” says Rep. Martha McSally of Arizona.
McSally is an United States Air Force veteran.
Mike Rodgers is the chairman of the subcommittee and says, “The Air Force is like any other bureaucracy. They don’t want to change. They Certainly don’t want Congress telling them they have to change. But this is our role. It is what we’re here for. It has been painfully apparent from the briefings we’ve gotten from our general officers that both Russia and China have nearly caught us in space capabilities.”
If you are interested in listening to the interview with Mike Rodgers, Click Here.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: There could be a new branch of the United States military in the near future, and its mandate will be outer space. It’s not called Starfleet like “Star Trek,” sadly. It’s been named Space Corps.
And joining us now to talk about the Space Corps is Congressman Mike Rogers of Alabama. He sponsored legislation seeking its formation. Welcome.
MIKE ROGERS: Thanks for having me.
ARCIA-NAVARRO: Sir, why do we need a Space Corps? What threats do you see it defending us from?
ROGERS: Well, clearly, we’ve got some very serious, aggressive behavior by both the Chinese and the Russians in space. They have realized that that’s a great equalizer if they can get good at it, and they’re getting good at it fast. Unfortunately, we’ve become, just like every other war-fighting country, very dependent on space. But the truth is, it’s not just our military; our country has become very reliant on space. Anybody that has a handheld iPhone or other device, that device is using space.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Because of satellites.
ROGERS: Satellites. So 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.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: What would the Space Corps actually look like? Would there be uniformed officers? What could this evolve into?
ROGERS: The problem is 90 percent of space in our military is in the Air Force. So what we’re basically going to be doing is taking the current infrastructure – for example, Space Command in Colorado Springs will become the headquarters for the Space Corps. We’re talking about taking the people that we need to take that deal with space and segregating them into a culture that appreciates them.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: The Air Force has pushed back on this. The Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said, quote, “the Pentagon is complicated enough. This will make it more complex, add more boxes to the organization chart and cost more money.” Is she wrong?
ROGERS: She’s absolutely wrong. The bureaucracy is always going to fight reform – always, especially the Pentagon. They’re fighting this because they don’t want Congress meddling. You know, what I’ve told her is, in 16 years, the Air Force has not changed a thing. And they’ve got us in this situation now where Russia and China have become near peers. They’re close to surpassing us. What we’re proposing would change that.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: I think what some people would say is that we are cooperating with the Russians on the International Space Station. Should space be the new frontier of warfare, or should it actually be a place where, indeed, these cooperations flourish? After all, we are all on one planet.
ROGERS: You know, it’d be nice if we could all hold hands and hug each other and sing “Kumbaya” and it be like that. But fact is, whether we like it or not, our country and virtually every other country in the world has become heavily dependent on satellites. So it’s natural that you’re going to see warfighting move up into that domain.
We’ve got to stay ahead of that. Now, hopefully, if we’re smart and effective at this, it will have a chilling effect on anybody wanting to try and go there because that’s one of the things that we have found keeps war at bay, is when you’re the biggest, baddest cat on the block. Nobody wants to bother with you. We are not maintaining that status when it comes to space like we are terrestrially.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Congressman Mike Rogers of Alabama, thank you so much for joining us.
ROGERS: Thank you.
Special thanks to Danny Ellis for the heads up on this!
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