The United States House Armed Services Committee introduced groundbreaking legislation earlier this week that hopes to establish a new branch of the American armed forces: a “Space Corps.”

Like the Marine Corps falls under the purview of the Department of the Navy, this new Space Corps would fall under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Air Force, and would be tasked with defending U.S. assets in orbit above the earth.  America has grown increasingly dependent on its satellite infrastructure for everything from reconnaissance to navigation and communication – but it has become apparent in recent years that the United States has fallen behind some competitor nations in terms of offensive and defensive capabilities in orbit.  As such, this bipartisan effort aims to ensure America retains its strategic superiority in space as well as on Earth.

The legislation, introduced by the subcommittee’s top Republican, Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama, and top Democrat, Rep. Jim Cooper of Tennessee, would mandate that the Air Force stands up its new branch of orbital warriors by January 1st, 2019.

“There is bipartisan acknowledgement that the strategic advantages we derive from our national security space systems are eroding,” Rogers and Cooper said in a prepared statement. “We are convinced that the Department of Defense is unable to take the measures necessary to address these challenges effectively and decisively, or even recognize the nature and scale of its problems.”