America’s 2020 Budget is $1.4 trillion
U.S. President Donald Trump has signed two spending bills that fund the federal government through September, averting a government shutdown that was set to take effect Friday.
The spending bills total $1.4 trillion and include a 3.1-percent pay raise for civilian government workers.
With the signing of the $738 billion defense policy bill, Trump authorized the creation of a space force, a 3.1-percent pay increase for military service members and 12 weeks of paid parental leave for federal workers.
The bills were signed after Republican and Democratic lawmakers managed to compromise just days after the Democrat-led House impeached the president.
While Republicans touted the spending package as a victory for the U.S. military, Democrats said they succeeded in securing funding for the pay hike for civilian federal workers, research into gun violence, election security and an increase in funding for climate research.
Trump’s proposed space force, the sixth branch of the U.S. military, was funded in exchange for funding the Democrats’ parental leave proposal, which makes 2 million federal workers eligible for 12 weeks of parental leave for the first time in the U.S. government’s history.
The space force will be the first new branch of the U.S. military in more than 60 years.
General John “Jay” Raymond, commander of U.S. Space Command and Air Force Space Command, called the new military branch “nationally critical,” and said, “America’s leadership in space is resonating globally. … Let there be no mistake. The United States is the best in the world in space today, and today we’re even better.”
Raymond said while there are still many questions about Space Force, including what members of the U.S. Space Force will be called or what their uniforms will look like, “This is really important to our nation.”
“It’s really important that we get this right. A uniform, A [military] patch. A song. It’ gets to the culture of a service. And so we’re not going to be in a rush,” he said.
Stephen Kitay, deputy assistant secretary of Defense for space policy, said, “Space is critical to our way of life as well [to] as our military and we need people to understand that.”
About 16,000 military and civilian personnel will be assigned to space force. That includes 2,500 military operators (military personnel who actively perform space-related duties), another 6,200 enlisted personnel and about 3,400 civilians.
Several current U.S. Air Force bases will eventually be renamed as they host, mainly, Space Force functions. The list includes Peterson Air Force Base, Schriever Air Force Base, Buckley Air Force Base, Patrick Air Force Base and Vandenberg Air Force Base, among others.
It is not known what name change they will undergo to include the Space Force element.
The mission of the new Space Force is in line with the current National Defense Strategy, which sees China and Russia as the top adversaries. And while they don’t have actual forces in space, they have satellites and can use space and space-based assets against the United States. (VoA)