Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Nigerian lawmakers seek to reduce president's powers

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Trump's transgender backlash

Read more

THE DEBATE

The Battle for Venezuela: Pressure mounting on Maduro ahead of sunday's vote

Read more

ENCORE!

Actress Helen Mirren on TV honours and tackling sexism

Read more

FOCUS

Teething problems for French President Macron's party

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Libya's Haftar vows to deal with terrorists 'through weapons'

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

USA: Fierce battle over Kentucky's only abortion clinic

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Socks and selfies deep': Canadians slam Rolling Stone's Trudeau tribute

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Panda-monium! French zoo awaiting rare panda birth

Read more

To infinity and beyond? US lawmakers advance 'Space Corps' plans

© AFP/File | It is unlikely, however, that Space Corps will come into being just yet, as the Senate's version of the NDAA has no such provision for it

WASHINGTON (AFP) - 

US lawmakers on Friday advanced a defense bill that includes a provision to establish a new branch of the military -- dubbed "Space Corps" -- that would focus on space operations.

The space force measure has met stiff resistance from the Trump administration, which says there's no need to establish another tier of military bureaucracy.

But proponents and some lawmakers see the military's space assets and its massive reliance on satellites as needing a stand-alone branch to protect and monitor them.

The huge National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) spending bill, approved by the House of Representatives on Friday, includes an amendment that would create a Space Corps by taking functions currently under the Air Force and placing these in a separate command.

It is unlikely, however, that Space Corps will come into being just yet, as the Senate's version of the NDAA has no such provision.

And Pentagon chief Jim Mattis made his feelings known in a letter to a congressman this week.

"At a time when we are trying to integrate the department's joint warfighting functions, I do not wish to add a separate service that would likely present a narrower and even parochial approach to space operations," Mattis wrote to Congressman Michael Turner, who is also against the creation of Space Corps.

It would be "premature to add additional organizational and administrative tail to the Department at a time I am trying to reduce overhead," he added.

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told lawmakers she too opposed Space Corps.

"To get focused on a large organizational change would actually slow us down right now," she said.

"It would actually move us in the wrong direction, slow us down from where we need to go.

Still, the effort to build a new military branch for space highlights the critical dependence the armed services have on space for many aspects of warfighting.

GPS systems are built into many military technologies and a network of sensors and satellites floating in orbit provide continual and vital intelligence.

© 2017 AFP