Tag Archives: Space Force

Space Force: Its relevance is diminishing

The more I think about the idea creating a Space Force — the less I think about it … if you know what I mean.

Donald Trump wants to create a new military branch devoted exclusively to fighting enemies in outer space.

As I ponder it, I think: Huh? Doesn’t NASA have that responsibility already? And doesn’t the U.S. Air Force have a Space Command that devotes its considerable intellectual power, know-how and technology to defending us from attacks that might come from beyond our atmosphere?

We’ve got the North American Aerospace Defense Command — a joint U.S.-Canadian operation. There’s also the Strategic Air Command. The Navy has its own capabilities as well.

Yet the president wants to commit $8 billion more in defense spending to create a Space Force? Where’s he going to get the money? Don’t anyone even think of suggesting he should take the funds from domestic programs the Trump administration wants to gut anyway.

The notion of a Space Force has given late-night comics plenty of grist for their joke writers. I won’t go there, although I was amused to hear Vice President Mike Pence extend “greetings from the president of the United States” in a tone of voice suggesting he was talking to a roomful of extraterrestrials.

Ex-astronaut: Space Force ‘redundant’ and ‘wasteful’

That settles it. Donald Trump’s idea of establishing a new military branch is a non-starter. If you’ll pardon the pun, it shouldn’t get off the ground.

He wants to create a Space Force, which would operate in outer space. According to one notable former astronaut, the idea is “redundant” and “wasteful.”

So said Mark Kelly, a former shuttle and International Space Station astronaut. I want to add that Kelly also is married to former U.S. Rep. Gabby Gifford of Arizona, who was gravely wounded  when she suffered a gunshot wound to the head. Kelly and Gifford have become staunch gun-control advocates and have become as well staunch foes of Donald Trump.

That all said, Kelly offers an expert’s view of this Space Force idea.

“There is a threat out there,” Kelly said, “but it’s being handled by the U.S. Air Force today, doesn’t make sense to build a whole other level of bureaucracy in an incredibly bureaucratic [Defense Department],” he added.

The Space Force idea is too expensive, especially at a time when we’re acquiring even more national debt and while the annual budget deficit is exploding. Moreover, it makes no sense to duplicate the efforts to patrol outer space by existing military branches, which — by the way — are the finest in the world.

Let’s ground the Space Force before it takes off.

What do we call those who enlist in the ‘Space Force’?

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?