A staple element of science fiction may soon become reality as a congressional committee has proposed the creation of a new branch of the United States military - one dedicated to defending America from threats beyond our world, according to CNN.
Dubbed the "Space Corps," the creation of the new military branch was approved by the House Armed Services Committee by a vote of 60-1. If ratified, the Space Corps would be the first new military branch founded in the U.S. since the founding of the Air Force in 1947.
The National Defense Authorization Act, the bill which introduced the Space Corps and laid out guidelines for the agency, describes its function as "providing combat-ready space forces that enable the commanders of the combatant commands to fight and win wars." The bill places the Space Corps under the Air Force in the same way the Marines function under the Navy. The Space Corps chief of staff would be a presidential appointee serving a six-year term, equal to the Air Force chief of staff, and would report directly to the Secretary of the Air Force.
The only major obstacle obstructing the agency's take-off is opposition within the Air Force. Secretary Heather Wilson in particular has spoken out against the creating of the Space Corps, instead advocating for an incorporation of the proposed duties of the agency into existing military branches. "This will make it more complex, add more boxes to the organizational chart, and cost more money," Wilson said of Space Corps on June 21.
This isn't the first time the government has addressed outer space's need for military protection. The Air Force Space Command has been working towards entering space since 1982, and in 1984, President Ronald Reagan proposed the Strategic Defense Initiative - a global shield that was nicknamed "Star Wars" by the media.