President Donald Trump’s oft-touted “Space Force” — the proposed sixth branch of the U.S. military — would cost taxpayers nearly $13 billion in its first five years of operation, according to an internal Air Force memo.
The Sept. 14 document, signed by Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, describes the proposed “Department of the Space Force” as “a lethality focused organization that will field space superiority capabilities,” Reuters reported.
Space Force could have more than 13,000 employees, the Air Force estimated. The cost of the new military service would be about $3.3 billion in its first year, and $12.9 billion over five years, the memo said.
The memo also revealed that the Defense Department and the intelligence community would likely undergo a mammoth reorganization if Space Force is approved, according to the Los Angeles Times. For one thing, the budget and mission of the Air Force, currently responsible for space, could be significantly curtailed.
The Trump administration announced last month that it plans to launch Space Force by 2020. Congressional approval will first be required, however.
“The President has clearly communicated his desire for a military department for space,” Wilson wrote in the new Air Force memo, per AP. “Strategic competition with Russia and China is the focus of our approach.”
According to the memo, the plan would be to create a headquarters for the new Space Force by 2020 and have it fully operational by the following year.