President Donald Trump today authorized the Pentagon to set up the U.S. Space Command as its own combatant command, in preparation for creating a Space Force as a separate branch of the military.
The authorization for the Space Command came in the form of a memorandum that doesn’t require congressional approval. Creating the Space Force, however, is dependent on action in Congress — and with Democrats taking charge of the House, there’s a chance that the force may take a form different from what the White House originally envisioned.
Cost estimates for setting up a Space Force as the first branch of the military to be created since the Air Force’s birth in 1947 range from a few billion dollars to as much as $13 billion. Some policymakers favor less expensive alternatives — such as a Space Corps that would be created within Air Force, just as the Marine Corps was created under the Navy’s administrative aegis.