White House has nothing to say on Space Force

by
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki could not say on Tuesday whether President Biden supports the Space Force

WASHINGTON — White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki seemed surprised when a reporter during her daily briefing Tuesday asked if President Biden has made any decisions regarding the U.S. Space Force.

“Wow, Space Force,” Psaki said, visibly taken by surprise by the question. 

“It’s the plane of today. It is an interesting question,” she responded.

The “plane” comment is a reference to a question Psaki got during her Jan. 22 briefing  on what color scheme Biden would prefer for Air Force One. She said Biden “has not spent a moment” thinking about the color scheme for the presidential airplane.

Her reaction to the Space Force question suggests Biden has probably not given much thought to the Space Force. 

“I am happy to check with our Space Force point of contact,” said Psaki. “I’m not sure who that is. I will find out and see if they have any update on that.”

The U.S. Space Force, the nation’s first new military branch since the Air Force was established in 1947, was highly championed by former President Trump during most of his administration. Some have speculated Biden would not support it but the president has not commented on it. Regardless of Biden’s position on the Space Force, the president does not get to choose whether or not to keep the Space Force. Congress enacted the Space Force in the law, like the other armed services, and would have to pass new legislation to roll it back. That would be an unlikely scenario as the Space Force has bipartisan support in Congress.

Psaki’s response to the Space Force question is a “pretty clear indication that national security space is not a top priority for the White House — at least not right now,” Todd Harrison, defense and space analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told SpaceNews.  “They’ve got a lot of other stuff to deal with, from COVID to climate change to the economy. But they’d better be ready to deal with space issues soon because you never know when a crisis might arise, like another destructive anti-satellite test by China.”

On Tuesday evening Psaki offered a conciliatory tweet: “We look forward to the continuing work of Space Force and invite the members of the team to come visit us in the briefing room anytime to share an update on their important work.”