President Donald Trump’s Space Force will cost up to $1.9 billion annually to manage and billions more in startup costs, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
The CBO published a report on the estimated costs of the new agency Wednesday. The Trump administration’s own cost estimates for the project have varied widely from $2 billion to $13 billion over the first five years.
The administration has not yet offered an exact plan describing how the Space Force will be organized with a breakdown of its parts and proportions. The CBO measured the cost of several possible layouts and estimated the cost of each.
“The Administration’s proposal would require 5,700 to 9,700 new positions, increase annual costs by $1.1 billion to $1.9 billion, and incur onetime costs of $1.8 billion to $4.7 billion,” the CBO estimated in the report.
The Trump administration has proposed folding the Space Force under the Air Force, transferring thousands of positions into to new agencies and expanding the Air Force’s budget and personnel.
The Pentagon asked Congress in March to approve $2 billion in new spending over five years to cover startup costs for the Space Force. That figure hit well under an earlier estimate by Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson.
Wilson estimated the new headquarters, equipment and personnel needed to build the Space Force would cost roughly $12.9 billion over five years. Her estimates, outlined in a memo dated Sept. 14, 2018, were leaked to Inside Defense News.
In a Senate subcommittee hearing Wednesday before the report was released, Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan called the $2 billion figure proposed by the Pentagon “overstated.”
“The $2 billion, in my view, is overstated. I think that detracts from the real value of the Space Force,” Shanahan told lawmakers, according to The Hill.
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