White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday said the U.S. Space Force “absolutely” has the “full support” of the Biden administration and said they are “not revisiting the decision” to establish the sixth branch of the U.S. military as she cleaned up comments from a day earlier.
Psaki’s comments come after she came under criticism for comments she made during the press briefing Tuesday, where she seemingly mocked a question from a reporter who asked whether President Biden would keep the scope of the Space Force.
During Wednesday’s press briefing, a Fox News correspondent pointed to the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., who demanded Psaki apologize for her comments. Fox News asked Psaki whether she would apologize.
“I did send a tweet last night, you may not all be on Twitter, maybe they’re not on Twitter, that said we invite the members of Space Force here to provide an update to all of you on the important work they’re doing,” Psaki said, adding that she looks “forward to seeing continued updates from their team.”
When asked whether the Space Force has the “full support” of the Biden administration, Psaki said “absolutely.”
“They absolutely have the full support of the Biden administration,” Psaki said. “And we are not revisiting the decision to establish the Space Force.”
“The desire for the Department of Defense to focus greater attention and resources on the growing security challenges in space has long been a bipartisan issue, informed by numerous independent commissions and studies conducted across multiple administrations,” Psaki continued, adding that “thousands of men and women proudly serve” in the Space Force.
Psaki added that the Space Force “was established by Congress and any other steps would actually have to be taken by Congress, not by the administration.”
Fox News also asked about NASA’s program to return Americans to the moon by 2024, and what President Biden’s plan would be on the program.
Psaki said she would follow up with a response, and said she is “personally interested in space. I think it is a fascinating area of study.”
The comments come after Psaki, during the White House press briefing Tuesday, was asked whether President Biden would keep the scope of the Space Force during his administration.
“Wow. Space Force. It’s the plane of today!” Psaki said, seemingly mocking the question, and appearing to compare it to one posed by a reporter two weeks ago, asking about Air Force One’s color scheme.
“It is an interesting question. I am happy to check with our Space Force point of contact,” she said after the reporter pushed back on the validity of the question. “I’m not sure who that is. I will find out and see if we have any update on that.”
Psaki was criticized for seemingly mocking the Space Force, which became the sixth branch of the U.S. military in 2019. Congress enacted the Space Force in December 2019, which aims to protect U.S. special interests in space capabilities.
Psaki, on Tuesday night, amid criticism, took to Twitter to note the “important work” of Space Force, though the White House press secretary did not include an apology.
“We look forward to the continuing work of Space Force and invite the members of the team to come visit us in the briefing room anytime to share an update on their important work,” she said.
When created, the Space Force had a projected size of 16,000 troops and an annual budget of $15.4 billion for now.
The branch’s responsibilities include “developing military space professionals, acquiring military space systems, maturing the military doctrine for space power, and organizing space forces to present to our Combatant Commands.”
President Trump first called for the creation of the Space Force in May 2018. Trump signed an order in December 2019 to establish the branch.
And last month, Fox News first reported that then-former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe had designated the Space Force the 18th member of the intelligence community, in a move to “break down barriers” to information sharing and to help inform the community’s analysis of threats in space.
Ratcliffe announced the designation of the U.S. Space Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Enterprise, which is the intelligence component of the Space Force.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) called the designation is “a once-a-generation event.”
The Space Force intelligence element is the first new organization to join the intelligence community since 2006, when the DEA’s Office of National Security Intelligence joined.
The move, according to ODNI, broke down barriers to information sharing and ensure that Space Force leaders have access to all intelligence that it would need to be successful.
The move also allows the intelligence community to have access to all operational space domain awareness that would help inform its analysis of threats in space.
Fox News’ Kristin Fisher contributed to this report.
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