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Rumsfeld announces plans to elevate importance of military space
Posted: Wed, May 9, 2001, 11:01 AM ET (1501 GMT)
US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announced a series of proposals Tuesday that will increase the importance of space-related activities in the American military. The reforms include establishing the Air Force as the "Executive Agent" for space in the Defense Department, giving it responsibility for department-wide planning and acquisition. Many of those duties will be handled by the Air Force Space Command, which will now be led by a four-star general; the command had previously shared its commanding general with NORAD and the U.S. Space Command. A policy coordinating committee will also be established within the National Security Council to handle space-related issues. The proposals largely follow the recommendations released in January by an independent commission that Rumsfeld led before becoming defense secretary. Rumsfeld's proposals were positively received by members of Congress who felt that space was not getting the attention it deserved by the Defense Department. The timing of the proposal, while coincidental with recent announcements about a national missile defense system, are not related, Rumsfeld said. He also added that any decision about the creation of a "Space Corps" as a separate branch of the military was still 10-15 years away.
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