Air Force leaders tread carefully after Trump’s surprise 'Space Force' comments

Source: Washington Examiner | March 14, 2018 | Travis J. Tritten

The Air Force’s top leaders said Wednesday they appreciate President Trump’s leadership on space and were “really looking forward” to a dialogue a day after the president broke with the service by supporting a new military space service.

House lawmakers questioned Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and Gen. David Goldfein, the chief of staff, during a hearing following the president’s surprise announcement in California Tuesday, and asked them to reiterate the reasons for their staunch opposition.

But both leaders avoided the kind of harsh rhetoric they used last year to shoot down the idea in Congress of what lawmakers have dubbed “Space Corps.” They immediately came out against the idea last summer, saying it would add unneeded bureaucracy to the military.

“As the president said yesterday, the new national defense strategy for space recognizes that space is a warfighting domain. We appreciate the president’s and the vice president’s leadership on space,” Wilson told the House Appropriations defense subcommittee. “Nowhere is that leadership more clear that in the president’s budget.”

Wilson said the budget request for the coming year includes an 18 percent increase for space operations over last year’s plan, proof of the emphasis on improving defense there.

The Air Force handles about 90 percent of military space operations.

“This budget accelerates our efforts to deter, defend and protect our ability to operate and win in space,” Wilson said.


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