The House’s newly passed defense bill will establish a new armed services branch, the United States Space Force, which will be headquartered in Colorado Springs.
The Space Force will become the sixth branch of the U.S. military and the first new branch to be added since the Air Force was created in 1947.
The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act earmarks $148 million for a Combined Space Operations Facility, to be built on Schriever Air Force Base near Colorado Springs, Colorado.
“It’s got tremendous job creating potential for the Pikes Peak area, and for all of Colorado and the entire Front Range, actually,” said Rep. Doug Lamborn, who represents the area.
The new branch will answer to the Air Force.
“It’ll be a relationship similar to the Navy overseeing the Marines,” Lamborn said. “It’ll be the Air Force overseeing Space.”
Its mission will be to “protect the interests of the United States in space,” to “deter aggression in, from, and to space” and to “conduct space operations.”
“It’s just a recognition that space has gotten so big and so critical it needs its own service,” Lamborn said.
The defense bill includes another provision that has little to do with defense. It will provide for up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave for all federal workers.
The legislation still needs to go to the Senate, where it’s expected to pass.
This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUER in Salt Lake City, KUNR in Nevada, the O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.