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Congress wants to create a ‘space corps’. What does it mean, and will it happen?

This picture taken on Dec. 26, 2011 shows the Pentagon building in Washington, DC.
This picture taken on Dec. 26, 2011 shows the Pentagon building in Washington, DC.
AFP/AFP/Getty Images

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Earlier this month, President Trump signed into law a bipartisan defense bill that includes a roadmap to potentially create a fourth military department: space.

Congress has been critical of the Pentagon for not prioritizing space security in recent years, which is crucial to U.S. Military operations as a whole. The House version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) originally approved for a new space corps under the Air Force, similar to the Marine Corps of the Navy, but it was dropped in the Senate bill passed last November.

However, the final bill mandated an independent study by the Pentagon to look into long-term prospects of establishing a department completely dedicated to space operations, separate from the Air Force.

What would the militarization of space look like and what are the resources we would need? Could it spark an international arms race? How have rivals like Russia and China reorganized their operations towards space security? Host Larry Mantle speaks with a space security expert on the specifics of the NDAA and what this means for the country’s space defense policies moving forward.


Todd Harrison, director of the Aerospace Security Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank