AL congressman reacts as U.S. Space Force plans leak a day early

AL congressman Rogers addresses Space Force, what it means for Alabama

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - More details are coming to light regarding President Trump's order that the Pentagon create a new military branch to be known as the Space Force.

Details about the plan to get it up and running were leaked Tuesday, a day ahead of the expected release of an official report.

Alabama Congressman Mike Rogers, R-Dist 3, spoke of the plans during an Eggs and Issues breakfast in Montgomery.

What could it mean for Alabama, particularly north Alabama with its NASA presence in Huntsville?

Unfortunately for Alabama, Rogers says the Space Force's headquarters will not be in Huntsville.

But, he added, there are a lot of companies in north Alabama that do space work and that the new military branch will be beneficial for them.

"This is going to be great for the contractor world, which is present in Huntsville to be able to grow and develop with this new Space Force. It will be good in that regard," Rogers said.

He said the private sector can create products quicker than the Air Force could.

"The Air Force's acquisition was so bureaucratic and slow, it couldn't keep pace. It was taking them six to eight years to get a new satellite into space when the private sector can do it for a customer in 18 to 24 months," he said. "We needed something that can move faster."

Speed is important for national security, according to Rogers. He said the United States is already behind curb.

"I can't talk in open about the threats that we face from China and Russia, because they're all classified but they are very real, and we have to do something different if we are going to meet that challenge," he said.

Rogers said at the breakfast the Space Force will help protect U.S. satellites. While satellites may seem far away, they play a large role in people's daily lives.

For example, without satellites you could get stuck with a paper map instead of your GPS. You also might not be able to use your card to purchase items at a coffee shop. When you use your card, there is a satellite link between your bank and the business.

Rogers is also certain that at least part of the educational mission for the Space Force will be at Maxwell Air Force Base's Air University, located in Montgomery.

He said some members of the Senate say the Space Force would be too expensive.

"We're not going to create new bureaucracy," Rogers said. "We're talking about taking existing personnel and existing facilities and just separating them from the previous services and the existing civil servants."

He emphasized the importance of creating a culture for the Space Force.

"We're going to use existing people, but they're going to have a separate budget, a separate organizational structure, a separate educational system and a separate culture," Rogers said. "That's the most important thing. A separate culture that focuses on space."

Rogers said the U.S. Department of Defense is preparing a proposal to present to Congress to get approval for the next steps in establishing the Space Force.

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