Space Force? Is that a new military branch?
It’s no longer sufficient that our Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard comprise the finest and most sophisticated military force the world has ever seen.
The Trump administration is taking the first steps toward establishing a new military branch with its theater of operations to be in outer space. Beyond our atmosphere. Somewhere in the great beyond.
Call me skeptical, but I don’t get it.
I have to concur with the skepticism expressed this past June by U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., who said, “That’s a serious subject. It’s one that I would have a hard time supporting. All of our branches have the space element and it’s working. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
What’s more, what do we call the enlistees? Astro-soldiers, extraterrestrial sailors or Marines, spacemen and women?
There once was a time in this country where we were concerned about the “militarization” of space. We were once locked in a Cold War with the communists in the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China. Yes, we wanted to protect ourselves against attack from those two powers. President Reagan initiated a Strategic Defense Initiative, aka Star Wars, which established an anti-missile defense system.
Now, though, the Trump administration wants to create a whole new military service. They call it the Space Force.
I recall back in the 1960s, when NASA was considering who should be the first astronaut to set foot on the moon. NASA had been spooked a bit by the Soviets’ concern over reported U.S. plans to militarize the lunar surface. Its astronaut corps was full of active-duty military personnel.
NASA instead chose a civilian astronaut, Neil Armstrong, to take that “giant leap for mankind” as a symbolic gesture that sends the message that the United States had no intention of militarizing the moon.
Now we want to create a Space Force?
As Sen. Inhofe noted, our existing armed forces all have space elements that are working quite well.
Finally, can we really and truly afford the cost of creating this military branch?