Trump is Right — We Actually Need a ‘Space Force’

The call for the creation of a sixth branch of the military that would be prepared to fight wars in outer space may sound like something out of a science fiction novel; but President Trump’s offhand comments on the matter may be much closer to reality than most think.

It’s worth noting that Trump is not the first president to consider this. It has been debated by proponents and critics for well over two decades as some past and even current lawmakers and analysts have noted that there may come a time when war in outer space could become a reality. In fact, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld suggested creating a space force shortly before 9/11 led the U.S. government to focus on other national security priorities.

The House Armed Services Committee approved a bi-partisan measure to create a space corps just last year; however, the idea failed to gain traction due in large part to the fact that the Pentagon is opposed to the plan — something Defense Secretary James Mattis made abundantly clear in a letter to lawmakers. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson also stated that she does not support the idea, noting that the creation of such a force would be both costly and complicated, draining finances that military leaders feel would be better spent on other programs and purposes.

What is more, the fact that the United States signed an international treaty in 1967 that expressly prohibits military activity in outer space. The Outer Space Treaty dictates that participating nations are not allowed to plant weapons on celestial bodies or space stations in outer space, send nuclear weapons or any other types of weaponry into orbit around the earth, or build military bases and/or conduct military training in outer space.

At the same time, there are those who fear that the United States is vulnerable as it loses its edge in space-related advancements. Both Russia and China are investing in creating space-related technology that could one day pose a threat. The Pentagon, which maintains satellites in orbit around the earth, is worried about the vulnerability of these assets since China successfully tested a missile that could reach them several years ago. Russia’s space capabilities are also increasing, and the country recently flew one of its satellites in very close proximity to a number of commercial satellites.

Naturally, the military has not failed to notice these and other advancements. In fact, the Air Force already conducts space war games on a regular basis, and is looking for ways to defend its 31 GPS satellites from attack.

The idea of creating a dedicated military brand tasked solely with defensive and/or offensive outer space maneuvers is not one that should be taken lightly. It would represent an escalation of the already current use of outer space for some military purposes. Other countries would likely follow suit which could, in a worst-case scenario, lead to the abandonment of the Outer Space Treaty.

At the same time, the fact remains that the United States and every other nation in the world is far more dependent on satellites orbiting the planet than they were in years past, and these satellites are actually incredibly vulnerable to disruption should one or more countries choose to hack into them, block signals from them or even destroy them outright.

While many mock the president for backing the creation of a Space Force even in the face of Pentagon opposition, military leaders are in fact concerned about the threat to its outer space assets, and are actively looking for better ways to protect and improve them even though they are not in agreement with creating a new military branch dedicated to this task.

The creation of a Space Force military branch may not take place in the near future, but the militarization of space is likely inevitable.

~ Conservative Zone


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