John Venable, senior research fellow for defense policy at the Heritage Foundation, discusses what’s new with the Pentagon’s Space Force plan and why there may be “fireworks” about the proposal in Congress.
With the Pentagon’s Space Force plan sent to Congress, Senators are already formulating their opinion on the potential sixth branch of the Armed Forces. Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan is set to testify about the proposal on Capitol Hill Thursday morning. John Venable, senior research fellow for defense policy at the Heritage Foundation, says there may be “fireworks” at the hearing. “I would imagine the members will want to know the effectiveness of this Space Force; what this new service will be. I think the Space Development Agency [is] on the correct footing to combine the development and acquisition of space assets into an underlying architecture that all services, and all assets can use collectively. I think that’s a favorable move.” Venable said, “The Space Force is something different entirely. When we first started the discussion, I came out against it because of its focus on one service. When there’s assets… and 60 disparate organizations across DoD, four of those are inside of the Air Force. If you want to bring the oversight, the acquisition, the requirements definition into one cohesive body that makes those decisions, then you will have to pool those assets together. Right now, it looks like we’ve gone from just focusing on the Air Force, to bringing all the services together, to now just focusing on the Air Force again. This is where the big head‑scratcher moment comes.”