Defense Department officials will attend a White House meeting on Tuesday to discuss preparations for the standup of a Space Force as soon as Congress authorizes a new service, SpaceNews reported.
A White House source told SpaceNews the October 15 meeting will be a “routine DoD update” related to the anticipated establishment of a new military service. Preparations to create a space service under the Air Force continue despite an uncertain political climate and no assurances from Congress that it will enact a Space Force in the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act as the sixth branch of the armed forces.
With NDAA conference negotiations already under way, there is apprehension in the Pentagon that the presidential impeachment inquiry and the gridlock that has gripped Congress will keep defense policy and funding bills from getting passed. One potential scenario, sources said, will be an abbreviated NDAA that might include some Space Force language but perhaps not everything the Pentagon wants, SpaceNews adds.
The Senate named all 27 members of the Senate Armed Services Committee to the conference committee. The House selected 32 conferees, including members of the House Armed Services Committee and 14 other committees.
The NDAA conference will have to reconcile differences between what the House and Senate have proposed. The House NDAA establishes a U.S. Space Corps as a sixth branch of the armed forces within the Department of the Air Force. The Senate NDAA establishes a U.S. Space Force but not as a sixth branch of the armed forces.
House appropriators approved $13.5 million to “study and refine plans for the potential establishment of a Space Force.” Senate appropriators funded the DoD’s requested amount of $72.4 million for the Space Force.