- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 4, 2019

Top Pentagon officials will gather on Capitol Hill next week to make their case for President Trump’s proposed new Space Force.

The Senate Armed Services Committee announced Thursday it will hold its first hearing on the idea, with acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford and head of the U.S. Strategic Command Gen. John Hyten testifying on plans for the potential sixth branch of the military.

The April 11 hearing “will give us an opportunity to examine the president’s proposal for the Space Force and lay the groundwork for a path forward,” Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican, said in a statement.

He and ranking Democrat Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island said the committee will seek information about the cost and benefits of the force, its necessary capabilities, whether a unified command or a separate branch is needed, and other potential options to enhance the U.S. space strategy.

President Trump last year suggested the Space Force would be the sixth branch of the armed forces fully on a par with the Navy, Army or Air Force. Yet the proposal has met with skepticism on Capitol Hill, where some lawmakers called the idea expensive and unnecessary. For now, the new force will be run within the broader Air Force, akin to the Marine Corps’ status under the Navy.

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