Shanahan Faces Tough Questions By HASC
Patrick Shanahan, the acting defense secretary answered the questions of lawmakers during the hearing of a House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday about three space organizations that the Pentagon is following – The Space Development Agency, US Space Command and Space Force. Rep. Mike Rogers when asked Shanahan to rank these organizations in their order of priority, he said that the US Space Command and the Space Development Agency are the most urgent ones. During the hearing, Shanahan testified on the request of the defense budget for the fiscal year 2020 along with the chief financial officer of Pentagon David Norquist and the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford.
On Tuesday the White House nominated John Raymond, the Air Force General to lead the US Space Command. The hearing was held after few hours that Rep. Adam Smith, the HASC Chairman reprimanded the Pentagon’s Space Force proposal suggesting that the committee would be looking into new alternatives. Neither did Smith nor Mac Thornberry, an HASC member mention about the issue of Space Force at the time of the hearing.
Smith and few other lawmakers raised a few objections regarding the proposal of DoD saying that it creates a huge military bureaucracy, with a branch of space that is led by the vice chief of staff, four-star chief and civilian undersecretary. Few members have raised concerns as to why all these things are required for advancing space capabilities. Rogers has been a chairman of the strategic forces of HASC subcommittee and has also played an important role in pitching for a space military branch. He said that what HASC might be considering is to establish a Space Force as an independent command rather than a traditional military service. This independent command would train, organize and equip people for space operations.