Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Alabama), chairman of the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee, is an advocate of the FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act, which would create a Space Corps within the Air Force analogous to the Marine Corps within the Department of the Navy. Credit: C-SPAN

WASHINGTON —  Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) on Dec. 3 was officially selected to serve as the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee in the 117th Congress.

Departing ranking HASC member Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said in a statement that Rogers is “a great choice” to replace him because of his advocacy for the military and experience dealing with national defense issues. 

 Rogers has been the ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee in the 116th Congress. Previously he was the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee’s strategic forces subcommittee where he led efforts to create a separate military branch for space. 

Rogers and the subcommittee’s top Democrat Rep. Jim Cooper (Tenn.) wrote the language to establish a Space Corps under the Department of the Air Force in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act. Their bill was defeated at the time but it was resurrected in the 2020 NDAA when Congress established the U.S. Space Force.

Sarah Mineiro, a former staff member of the HASC strategic forces subcommittee, and now an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, told SpaceNews that Rogers in the most recent legislative cycle has “really increased his advocacy for a broad range of issues affecting defense policy including strategic competition with Russia and China, the readiness challenges faced by the DoD, and the Arctic. And space remains high on his priority list.”

She said Rogers and Cooper were both the originators and eventual implementers of the Space Force and Space Command legislation on the House side.  “They were both the brain and the brawn to that effort and I anticipate they will continue that legacy through the legitimate oversight of the Space Force and Space Command in the years to come.”

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...