WASHINGTON DC – The United States Space Force, proposed by President Donald Trump, will cost between $1.4 billion and $3.2 billion to establish, and $1.5 billion a year to pay its employees and overheads. Estimates were released by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on Thursday.
The report estimates that the Space Force would need between 5,400 to 7,800 management positions, in addition to about 22,700 military personnel and civilians transferred from other branches of the US Armed Forces.
These new positions would increase the costs of the DoD between $1.1 billion and $1.5 billion per year,the report explained. In addition, CBO estimates that the establishment of a new military department would incur costs of $1.4 billion to $3.2 billion, primarily for new office facilities, the document added.
Patrick Shanahan, the acting secretary for the Department of Defense, told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Wednesday he thinks even the agency estimates are too high.
“The $2 billion, in my view, is overstated,” he said. “I think that detracts from the real value of the Space Force.”
CBO did the report at the request of Sens. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., and Jack Reed, D-R.I. The proposed Space Force would need to be approved by Congress, and cost could be a deciding factor for lawmakers.
In February, Trump signed a directive that centralized all military space functions under a Space Force division within the US Air Force.
Creating the Space Force under the Air Force as opposed to a stand-alone branch of the military would save some money, according to CBO. It would require fewer people than a new department, and it could take advantage of some of the existing department’s functions.
The report also looked at costs for a combatant command and a Space Development Agency, both of which were proposed in the Pentagon’s fiscal 2020 budget. Details for these proposals – as well as the Space Force – have been sparse, the report said.
Trump administration officials called the decision a step toward the creation of a 6th branch of the US Armed Forces, which would require congressional approval.
This announcement comes as the US is still not able to lift many of its citizens out of poverty as it continues to expand the military industrial complex.