Space Force Formal Launch Pegged Back Due to Cost

A key legal change the Trump administration is seeking would enshrine a U.S. Space Force as a separate branch of the military next year, but it could cost billions more upfront than what the Senate had planned, DefenseNews informs.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., an ally of President Donald Trump, indicated Tuesday he was leaning toward the move after Vice President Mike Pence personally lobbied him to include the new force under Title 10, the section of United States code that organizes the U.S. military.

“The President is very strong on wanting to have it and wanting to do it immediately and wanting to do it, obviously, before the election ― and we’re going to try and get that done,” Inhofe said about legislation to create a new Space Force.

Last week, Pence spoke at the Senate Republican caucus’ weekly lunch and met with Inhofe afterward – ahead of the formal start of negotiations between the House and Senate over their competing versions of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, a massive defense policy bill.

But Inhofe remained concerned with the potential for massive added costs and how they would be absorbed by the bill because of how the costs are scored by the Congressional Budget Office, the agency tasked with estimating costs associated with legislative proposals, DefenseNews added.

CBO estimated the administration’s Space Force proposal would add $800 million to $1.3 billion in annual costs, and between $1.1 billion and $3 billion in one-time costs.

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