WASHINGTON — The year: 2019. The mission: Send combat forces into space to save the world from potential Star Wars.
The crew to get the job done: The United States Space Corps.
A congressional committee is proposing that the U.S. armed forces add a new military branch that would send soldiers out of this world.
The crew of real-life Buzz Lightyears is described in the National Defense Authorization Act, which is headed to the full House for a vote.
There isn’t usually anything extraordinary about the NDAA, which every year lays out military spending.
But this time, the House Armed Services Committee voted 60-1 in favor of a bill that would, among many other things, create the first new branch of the armed forces since the Air Force’s founding in 1947.
Among the Space Corps’ official duties, as established in the bill, would be “providing combat-ready space forces that enable the commanders of the combatant commands to fight and win wars.”
The Space Corps would fall under the Air Force in the same way the Marine Corps does the Navy.
The chief of staff of the Space Corps, a presidential appointee with a six-year term, would be on equal footing with the Air Force’s chief of staff. Both would report to the Secretary of the Air Force.
So far, there’s just one main problem with the proposal: Neither the Air Force’s secretary nor its chief of staff are thrilled with separating America’s own “Guardians of the Galaxy” from the rest of the armed forces.
“I’ve been shocked by the response by the Air Force leadership,” Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Alabama, said during a June 22 committee hearing.
The congressman chairs the subcommittee that wrote the Space Corps into the legislation.
Senior Air Force officials see the proposed corps as an unnecessary change in the force’s existing space efforts.
The Space Corps wouldn’t exactly be boldly going where no man has gone before. The Air Force Space Command has been working toward that since 1982.
“This will make it more complex, add more boxes to the organizational chart, and cost more money,” Secretary Heather Wilson told reporters June 21.
There are still plenty more congressional hoops for the Space Corps to jump through before it would become official. But, hey, at least the name sounds cool.