Space Force

Space Force June 21, 2018

President Trump has directed the Pentagon to create a sixth branch of the military:  the Space Force.

Thus, in addition to the Army, Navy, Marines (though part of the Navy, considered a distinct “branch”), Coast Guard, and Air Force, we would have a Space Force, designed to carry out military operations in outer space.

In addition to countering hostile satellites and other space-based weaponry such as China is developing, the Space Force would protect us from illegal aliens.

Sorry.  I could not resist the temptation to say that.

From the Washington Post:

President Trump said Monday that he would direct the Defense Department and the Pentagon to create a new “Space Force” — an independent sixth branch of the armed forces.

Trump has floated this idea before — in March, he said he initially conceived it as a joke — but has offered few details about how the Space Force would operate. Several experts noted that an act of Congress is required to establish a new branch of the military.

Trump said Monday that the branch would be “separate but equal” vis-à-vis the Air Force and that Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, would oversee its creation.

“It is not enough to have an American presence in space, we must have American dominance in space,” Trump said, adding that he did not want to see “China and other countries leading us.”

Dunford’s staff acknowledged Trump’s comments in a statement Monday afternoon, pledging to work closely with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’s office, other Defense Department officials and Congress to “implement the President’s guidance.”

“Space is a warfighting domain, so it is vital that our military maintains its dominance and competitive advantage in that domain,” the statement said.

Good idea?  Bad idea?  Not needed?  Too expensive for now?  A confusion of science fiction with reality?  A visionary initiative?

Back in 1967, the U.S. signed and the Senate ratified the Outer Space Treaty, which prohibits establishing military bases on the moon and other planets.  It also forbids placing weapons of mass destruction in orbit.  China and Russia also signed that treaty.  The Washington Post article linked above says that “the treaty has no enforcement mechanism.”

But don’t we need to honor the treaties we signed, even without an “enforcement mechanism”?

The article quoted an expert who said that it wouldn’t necessarily rule out a Space Force, depending on what it is and what it does.  But is it really a good idea to militarize space?  Do we need “American dominance in space”?

Illustration by ColinOOB via Pixabay, CC0, Creative Commons

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