I suppose we might consider this the sort of idea where somebody is just thinking really big. (Or would that be bigly?) We’ve had the same five branches of the U.S. military service for some time now. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast guard. But during an address to some of the cadets of West Point, the President broached a proposal for a sixth group… the United States Space Force. The Free Beacon has the details.
President Donald Trump on Tuesday told the West Point Black Knights football team his administration is “seriously thinking” of creating a sixth military branch called the “Space Force.” …
Trump told the cadets the Space Force would join the five current branches of the United States Armed Forces: the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.
“We were actually thinking of a sixth, and that would be the Space Force,” Trump said.
“We are getting very big in space, both militarily and for other reasons, and we are seriously thinking of the Space Force,” Trump added.
Check out the video of the President pitching this idea. It’s fairly brief.
Regular readers already know that I’m a big fan of space travel and exploration. I try to keep up to date with all of NASA’s missions of exploration and I’ve turned into an unabashed cheerleader for Elon Musk and the Falcon Heavy. (Soon to be followed by the BFR.) But even coming from that sort of background, plus being a veteran myself, I still have a few questions about how, and more to the point why we would add another branch to the military service covering outer space.
I get that simply saying “nobody else has one” isn’t a good enough reason to shoot the idea down. If space forces are going to be a thing going forward then we might as well get a jump on it. But are they? Keep in mind that beyond all of the other admirable work our military does, underneath it all their primary raison d’etre is to fight. We fight the armies of other nations (or at least we used to) and we fight organized terror groups. Is there anybody to fight up in orbit? Or do we at least anticipate there being anyone to fight? I mean, there are a handful of Russians up there at any given time, but they’re actually roommates with American and European astronauts. The Chinese are poking around up there a bit, but not in any significant numbers.
From a more technical perspective, you can see the value in being able to launch a strike and take out the satellites of other nations in a time of war. But we can already pretty much do that from the ground, as can the Chinese and the Russians. I just don’t see a lot of fighting going on out in the blackness of space unless you’re preparing for aliens to show up or something and… er… wait a minute. That’s probably it!
Naw… we don’t want to go there. At least not yet. But on a vaguely related and slightly more humorous note, there was a bit of other news dealing with the new space race. Boeing is in an argument at the moment with Elon Musk’s SpaceX over, wait for it… who has the bigger unit.