Since the House Armed Services Committee announced the proposal to separate orbital operations from the U.S. Air Force and instead establish a separate military branch tailored specifically to space, there has been a fair amount of debate among law makers and defense officials as to whether or not such a change is necessary, or even beneficial. Intelligent men and women on both sides of the aisle have weighed in, with many important leaders in America’s defense infrastructure arguing against the change.
Most notably, in my mind, are the arguments levied against the formation of a “Space Corps” by both Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and Defense Secretary James Mattis. It’s no secret that I have a deep respect for Mattis in particular, so when the man claims the establishment of a space branch could hinder America’s defense efforts, you can be sure I’ll sit and listen. In a letter Mattis wrote to Ohio Rep. Mike Turner, the Republican Chairman of the House Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee who also opposes the change, he explained his concerns that another branch would add a burdensome “additional organizational and administrative tail.”
“At a time when we are trying to integrate the Department’s joint warfighting functions, I do not wish to add a separate service that would likely present a narrower and even parochial approach to space operations,” Mattis wrote.
The man isn’t wrong. America’s already whopping defense budget is in dire need of another influx of cash in order to maintain the massive military footprint our nation has throughout the world, and another military branch will, without question, add to the cost of administration.