Budgeting for a U.S. space force

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WASHINGTON – 2020 is a big year! We’ve got the next Olympic games in Tokyo. We’ve got Avatar 2 coming out in movie theaters and in the world of politics, 2020 is the next presidential election.

But before we get there, President Trump has proposed his budget for next year, including money to launch the space force, which is a new branch of the United States military.

But where will it be housed?

Buildup for the new space force sparked the imagination of many Americans. But the launch is shaping up to be a slow and deliberate process. 

“I think the Trump administration has recognized political reality,” says John Logsdon, professor at the George Washington University Space Policy Institute.

After initially proposing the space force as a costly stand alone department, the plans were scaled back.

“It will be a gradual transition starting with an organization that’s still part of the Air Force,” adds Logsdon.

A budget proposal laid out by the president on Monday calls for spending $72 million next year to start up the space force with 200 employees.

Over the next five years the cost grows to $2 billion — still a tiny fraction of military spending during that period. but the Trump administration says it’s an important start. 

“We’re excited about it. It’s an important initiative that the president has spearheaded,” says Russell Vought, OMB Acting Director. 

“Most folks have no idea how much space is involved in their day to day lives, their personal lives, their business lives, but it is,” adds Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL). 

That’s why Congressman Rogers says he’s been pushing the space force for several years.

“We’re gonna start having discussions about what the administration is sending over…take the ones we like, modify the ones we don’t,” he continues.

One of the big decisions that needs to be made is where to put the agency’s headquarters. Logsdon says states with a current stake in the space industry have a leg up. 

Florida, Alabama, Colorado and California are seen as top contenders.

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