The Air Force estimates a Space Force, President Donald Trump's planned new branch of the military, will cost $13 billion over the next five years — including $3 billion to start it up, Defense News reported.
In a Sept. 14 memo signed by Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, the service laid out a plan to set up the sixth branch, pushing back on some elements of Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan's own proposal, Defense News reported.
For example, the Air Force plan objects to any move to install an assistant secretary of defense for space to help guide the transition.
"If the president's proposal is [accepted], you will have a new secretary, assistant secretary, and a new chief of staff, and their job will be to organize, train, and equip space forces just like my job is to organize, train, and equip the entire air service today," Wilson said.
Another key proposal would reintegrate the intelligence community — namely the National Reconnaissance Office — and military space led by the Space Force, Defense News reported.
The Air Force proposal aims to strip all space capability and personnel from the existing services — but even so, the Space Force will need additional funding, Wilson insisted.
"We have an obligation to support the president's proposal which he intends to put forward with the next budget that is bold and carries out his vision for an independent department that has all of the responsibilities to organize, train, equip and develop space forces to meet the threat that's emerging in space," Wilson said.
"[I]t's a major undertaking. It's a bold idea," she added.
According to Defense News, over the next five years, about $2.2 billion will be needed for headquarters, $1.8 billion for "direct reporting units," $7.2 billion for Space Force itself, $595 million for added staff at the new U.S. Space Command, and a one-time payment of $1 million to built the new combatant command.
The Air Force estimates more than 13,000 personnel will be needed on top of existing space operators to start the new branch, Wilson told the military news outlet.
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