A new bill from the House Armed Services Committee is asking the Department of Defense to create an entirely space-centric sect of the US Armed Forces called the "US Space Corps," Federal News Radio reports, deeming space potential grounds for warfare.
By creating the Space Corps, the US government would essentially be giving some of the Air Force's current duties to a separate military service. The chief-of-staff of the Space Corps would become the newest member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the service would work under the the Department of the Air Force. But rather than being on-hand to wage an all-out war in the cosmos, the Space Corps would work more to protect America's satellites from planetary debris or cyber attacks abroad.
"Space has not been given adequate priority by our friends in the Air Force," Tennessee Democrat Jim Cooper, an architect of the bill, told Federal News Radio. "They do many things wonderfully well, but this is a new area, a new responsibility that a corps would help us address more effectively. We could wake up one morning and be blinded and deafened by adversary powers, because so many of our most precious assets are up in space."
This unfortunately has nothing to do with the threat of an extraterrestrial invasion, but more so with other countries' rapidly maturing space programs—namely in Russia and China.
"Russia and China have become near peers," Mike Rodgers, a Republican from Arkansas and Space Corps proponent, told NPR. "They're close to surpassing us."
Both countries have been linked to the use of anti-satellite technology that could put the integrity of the US Military and Americans in jeopardy. These satellites are integral to both modern warfare and modern life as we know it—just as crucial for triangulating the location of an enemy base as they are for sending a text message.
Compelling as these arguments may seem, many top Military brass are still unconvinced. Sean O'Keefe, former NASA head and Navy secretary, told Vox that the proposed Space Corps would only serve to exacerbate an already convoluted Pentagon with unnecessary tiers of bureaucracy. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson agrees. "The Pentagon is complicated enough," she said, according to Breaking Defense. "This will make it more complex, add more boxes to the organization chart."
The proposal comes as part of the House panel's 2018 Defense authorization bill, which is headed to the Senate. Should it go through, the Department of Defense would have to submit a detailed plan on the reorganization to Congress next year.