The Pentagon (Photo by Ivan Cholakov / Shutterstock)

Lawmakers ‘skeptical ’ on sixth military branch proposal

The American Federation of Government Employees and a bipartisan group of lawmakers has raised concern about the administration’s proposal to create a sixth military branch, the U.S. Space Force.

Included in the fiscal year 2020 budget is a proposal that calls for the creation of the Space Force, which will remain under the Department of the Air Force in a structure similar to the Marine Corps’ relationship to the Navy.

The proposal would exempt Space Force civilian workers from Title 5 rules and protections, including collective bargaining rights and whistleblower protections.

“Current Department of Defense employees could be involuntarily transferred to the new department, stripping them of their existing rights in the process,” according to an AFGE press release.

Employees could be hired or fired at will without any appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board or another third party.

“It would create an alarming precedent, I think, that potentially could erode the merit-based civil service within the Pentagon and eliminate the rights of Space Force employees to participate in collective bargaining, for example,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said during a recent Senate Armed Services Committee official hearing on the topic.

About 1,000 of the department’s 16,500 employees would be headquarters staff, including two four-star generals and a separate undersecretary.

Committee members “were skeptical about the need for a new branch and raised numerous questions about the proposal and its impact on the workforce,” the release states.

Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) said that creating a new service would further degrade military readiness, which he said has “plummeted” over the years.

Reader comments

Sat, Apr 27, 2019

We must protect the earth against the Borg-Cylon alliance. You shall be assimilated, resistance is futile; by your command.

Fri, Apr 26, 2019

No one can hear you call for your union steward in space!

Fri, Apr 26, 2019

Next it will be made public they are arming elite units of penguins in the Antartica.

Fri, Apr 26, 2019

Will they sign an peace agreement with the Cylon empire? Or will they prevent the total destruction of the lifeform known as mankind. By your command. f the life

Thu, Apr 25, 2019 Pat O’ Rourke

On March 26th Vice President Pence called for a return to the moon by 2024. The President’s proposed budget wants to cut $21 billion from NASA in the coming year. As there have been no feasibility studies on this new proposed arm of our military the question arises as to cost and source of the money needed for funding. Whoever seriously thought of and proposed this idea has probably watched one too many Star Wars movies. We already have the capacity to wage theater operations in space since the 1980’s. This money is better spent elsewhere.

Show All Comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

Contributors

Edward A. Zurndorfer Certified Financial Planner
Mike Causey Columnist
Tom Fox VP for Leadership and Innovation, Partnership for Public Service
Mathew B. Tully Legal Analyst

Free E-Newsletter

FederalDAILY

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.

Stay Connected

Latest Forum Posts

Ask the Expert

Have a question regarding your federal employee benefits or retirement?

Submit a question