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Kaitlyn Johnson, Deputy Director of the Aerospace Security Project at CSIS, and Eric Gomez, Director of Defense Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, comment on the announcement of the Biden administration’s support for the Space Force and discuss ensuring the branch’s success

The Biden administration just expressed its support for the Space Force. Kaitlyn Johnson, Deputy Director of the Aerospace Security Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and Eric Gomez, Director of Defense Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, joined “Government Matters” to discuss the future of the sixth branch of the military.

“This [support] was not surprising from the space policy community. You can see online that scholars have said it’s kind of inevitable that the Biden administration would support the Space Force,” Johnson said.

Gomez also said he wasn’t surprised by the Biden administration’s announcement.

“I know that Space Force, being such an important initiative of Donald Trump and that administration, some people worried that that might create too much of a linkage between Trump and the service, but support on the Hill is very strong, and even if Biden isn’t a fan of the Space Force, and even if his administration reflects that in some of their budget, it’s going to have to get through the Congress, and that’s where I think we’re going to see a lot of support for keeping the service around and helping it grow,” he said.

He said that one of the biggest challenges for the Space Force will be creating an identity for itself. He said he’ll watch how the Space Force budget is allocated in the force’s second year and what Congress expects of the branch.

“I was kind of skeptical of creating a new service… I didn’t think that this was the right way to go for enhancing U.S. interests in space, but we did it, we’re here with it, and I think that’s going to manifest itself in some interesting ways in the budget cycle…” Gomez said.

He said that to ensure the success of the Space Force, it will need to overcome the bureaucratic and organizational challenges of having a new service, but that it will take time. He referenced this piece from the Cato Institute about some of the structural challenges the Space Force will face.

Johnson said the Space Force should prioritize long-term thinking in terms of space policy.

“I think the Space Force has a great opportunity to … think about what their mission is and what this infinite mindset of ‘what is the force of the future’ and ‘how can they play that role?’” Johnson said. “I’d love to see them establishing different methods to getting there, I think looking at what they’re investing in, what their research and acquisition dollars are going towards, as well as who they’re investing in.”

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