Space Force skeptic Sen. Jim Inhofe is warming to the idea of a new branch of the military — if the price is right,
The Oklahoma Republican said he spoke last week with Defense Secretary James Mattis, who tried to win him over.
"He did almost, a little bit," Inhofe said, adding, that Russian and Chinese investment in space may justify it.
"They’re our top competitors. … By us not having one, there could be an argument we’re not as committed to space as they are," Inhofe added. "Now that isn’t true."
Inhofe — who’s expected to be named chairman of the Armed Services Committee in the wake of the death of the late Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, the news outlet reported — said he’s open to "a separate bureaucracy … without having to spend billions of dollars on it."
"We don’t know the ingredients yet," he said. "We don’t know what the cost would be. When that time comes, we’ll take a position."
At a Pentagon news briefing Tuesday, Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joe Dunford said they don’t yet have a cost estimate, Defense News reported.
But Mattis said the interim step — setting up a combatant command focused on space issues — "will not be that expensive because we’ll build out on what we have right now," Defense News reported.