Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan Tuesday rejected President Donald Trump's push to create a Space Force as a separate branch of the military, saying instead it should be part of the Air Force and as "small as possible."
“It’s going to be small, as small as possible footprint, that’s why I recommended it sits underneath the Air Force,” Shanahan said while making his first comment publicly about Trump's plan, reports Politico.
Trump last year, however, said the Space Force would be a sixth branch of the military and that it was needed to protect the United States against efforts in China and Russia to weaponize space.
The Pentagon is still working on a legislative proposal for Congress, which will have the final say in the matter. Meanwhile, the White House is also updating the plan for Trump.
The new service would be under the command of a four-star officer but remain under the control of the secretary of the Air Force, much like the structure of the Marine Corps, which is part of the U.S. Navy, a defense official with direct knowledge of the talks said.
The $13 billion price tag to fund the Space Force during its first five years alone may also create an issue with congressional Democrats and Republicans.
Shanahan said a senior officer has been picked to head the newly formed U.S. Space Command, but did not identify the person.
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