is “unacceptable” that the United States has allowed Russia and China to
approach or match US capabilities in space, and the situation is not likely to
be remedied without major changes in the Air Force, a key House Armed Services
Committee leader said Wednesday.
was “jarring” to hear that both Russia and China have developed into peers with
the US in space, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), chairman of the Strategic Forces subcommittee, said Wednesday at the Center for Strategic and
International Studies in Washington.
unacceptable that we’ve allowed that to happen,” he said.
appeared alongside the subcommittee’s ranking member Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.),
and both are supporting a measure to create a “Space Corps” service separate
from the Air Force.
disappointing thing,” he said, “is that the more we looked at it, the more we
became convinced that it can’t be fixed within the Air Force the way it’s
that much of the information his subcommittee deals with is classified, he said
if more information were available, “there would be a hue and cry in the
American public for us to fix this situation if they knew how bad things were
and what we’ve allowed China and Russia to do.”
told the session that a new Space Corps could be established within three to
have got to get our heads in the game, think of war fighting in a new domain,
and be ready for whatever threat comes at us,” Cooper said.
could be deaf, dumb, and blind within seconds” without action, he said.
called on officials to “come out of denial” about the threat and called on the
Air Force admit there is a problem and “work with us instead of fighting us.”
Air Force has spent the last year on Capitol Hill fighting Congress, trying to
keep us from meddling in this issue,” he said.
struck a similar chord, saying he was “embarrassed” that it takes “the
playthings of a couple of billionaires” to help the US make its launch
capabilities more affordable.
Air Force has had amazing budgets for a long time, they do a lot of things, and
then they end up being unenthusiastic about drones because they’re not piloted
aircraft,” he said.
me a break. I like leather jackets too, but that shouldn’t be the predominant
characteristic,” he said, adding, that historians “will not be kind when they
look back at this period.”
pointed to the long-delayed GPS OCX ground-control system as a “perfect example” of the problems
in the Air Force.
had that black hole for money for years, and it’s still not able to be
executed,” he said. “Show me the person responsible for that. You can’t. “It’s
all those committees. They’re all pointing at each other. “
conceded that he sees some “more aggressive activity” to deal with Chinese and
Russian threats that he could not discuss publicly, “but we have to be a lot
more innovative, and I mean fast.”
The Air Force and larger Defense Department has repeatedly
opposed the creation of a separate service to handle space operations. Defense
Secretary Jim Mattis in
July said that it is better to have a “properly integrated approach” and
that it is premature to add an additional organization and more “administrative
tail” as the Pentagon is looking to reduce overhead.
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