The administration’s nominee to become the next Air Force Secretary emphasized during her Senate confirmation hearing last week that she would prioritize establishing the Space Force, The Hill reported.
Barbara Barrett, who would replace former Secretary Heather Wilson, told the Senate Armed Services Committee she believes a Space Force is “overdue.”
“If confirmed, standing up a Space Force would be a key imperative,” Barrett testifed. “We must be prepared to defend critical space assets, increase the resilience of our space enterprise and be prepared to fight and win should deterrence fail.”
The White House has pressed for creation of a new military branch for space, also dubbed as a “Space Force.” Supporters claim it is needed to counter Russia and China which have tested anti-satellite weapons and initiated their own space forces, according to the report.
The new military branch requires congressional approval and the House and Senate have provisions for a space military branch in their versions of the fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, as On Base has reported.
Both chambers would create the space branch under the Air Force, as the Marine Corps is established under the Navy, with the Air Force Secretary as the top civilian leader. The respective House and Senate NDAAs face conference committee negotiations this week.
“I look forward to seeing the outcome of those negotiations in Congress and building upon what Congress directs,” Barrett said. “I would look forward to participating if confirmed in developing an agency that is focused on capability in space.”
Barrett’s past roles include serving as chairwoman of the Aerospace Corporation and deputy administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration.
Air Force photo by Wayne Clark