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Psaki punts reporter’s question about Pres. Biden and U.S. Space Force

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When a reporter asked White House press secretary Jen Psaki during Tuesday’s press briefing if President Joe Biden has made any decisions pertaining to the U.S. Space Force, Psaki appeared surprised, SpaceNews reported.

Specifically, the reporter asked the press secretary if the new president has made any decisions about “keeping, or keeping the scope of, Space Force”.

“Wow, Space Force,” Psaki said, visibly surprised by the question. 

“It’s the plane of today,” she joked.

According to SpaceNews, her “plane” remark is a reference to a question she received during her January 22 briefing about what color scheme the president would prefer for Air Force One. The Hill reported that she said Biden “has not spent a moment” thinking about the color scheme for the commander-in-chief’s official airplane.

As for the question Psaki was asked Tuesday about Space Force, she couldn’t provide an actual answer.

“I am happy to check with our Space Force point of contact,” Psaki said. “I’m not sure who that is. I will find out and see if they have any update on that.”

Click here to watch the full clip of Tuesday’s Space Force segment published by The Hill.

Founded in 2019, the U.S. Space Force is the newest branch of the nation’s military after much public advocacy by then-President Donald Trump. It was the first military branch created in decades, after the U.S. Air Force was established in 1947 after World War II.

Biden has not commented on the Space Force, according to SpaceNews, though the publication noted that the president does not get to choose whether or not to keep the Space Force. This is because Congress created the Space Force through legislation, just as with other armed services, and new legislation would have to be passed in order to get rid of the young military branch. SpaceNews also pointed out that the Space Force has bipartisan support, making any such effort unlikely.

Todd Harrison, a defense and space analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told SpaceNews on Tuesday that Psaki’s response to the Space Force question is a “pretty clear indication that national security space is not a top priority for the White House — at least not right now.”

“They’ve got a lot of other stuff to deal with, from COVID to climate change to the economy,” Harrison added. “But they’d better be ready to deal with space issues soon because you never know when a crisis might arise, like another destructive anti-satellite test by China.”

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Health Industry Distributors’ Association: Supply Chain Delays ‘A Healthcare Issue’

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The Health Industry Distributors’ Association (HIDA) released harrowing data stating “Transportation Delays Are A Healthcare Issue.” HIDA’s December release states, “research estimates that approximately 8,000-12,000 containers of critical medical supplies are delayed an average of up to 37 days throughout the transportation system.”

The statement continues, “The West Coast port with the greatest number of delayed medical containers are the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. The most congested East Coast port is the Port of Savannah.”

An infographic is accompanied with the statement which breaks down the crisis further. 17 is the average number of days the shipments are delayed at the Port. There’s an 11 day average delay by rail, and a 9 day average delay by truck.

In those shipping containers, the infographic states 187,000 gowns, 360,000 syringes and 3.5 million surgical gloves are held. The ports with the most medical delayed supplies are Los Angeles/Long Beach, Savannah, New York/New Jersey, Charleston, Seattle, Oakland, Boston, Baltimore and Houston.

Axios reports under a “Why it matters” headline, that “Per their projections, medical supplies arriving at a U.S. port on Christmas Day won’t be delivered to hospitals and other care settings until February 2022.”

As a result, “that could delay critical supplies at a time when health care is already expected to most need them due to surges from Delta and Omicron.”

Additionally, “The supply chain problems can compound, starting with medical supplies languishing in U.S. ports for an average of 17 days, officials said.”

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