It's Monday morning, June 18. Reporters swarm a room in the White House waiting for what was potentially the most historic news in space exploration this year. President Donald Trump announced that he would momentarily be signing a directive for The Department of Defense to create the sixth branch of our military. What will be known as Space Force, separated completely from our Air Force. "Our nation of pioneers still yearns to conquer the unknown because we are Americans and the future belongs totally to us. Once more we will lead humanity, and that's what it is humanity, beyond the earth and into those forbidden skies but they will not be forbidden for much longer." The president went on to say that he is going to give the "DOD" the means of creating a system for long-term traffic coordination in outer space; promising other things like more spacecraft, vehicles for other celestial bodies, and other new updated technology necessary for the overall goal.
What's the motive?
"It is not only a matter of national identity but also of national security."
National security...... security from what exactly? The question has made its way into the minds of many across our nation since Trump made those bold declarations about militarizing space. As far as we the people are aware, there are only a few countries that have space programs, in general, let alone as proficient as the United States. Neither China nor Russia is reported to be planning any bold moves like this (that we know of). In fact, a treaty signed by the United Nations in 1967 and heavily supported by the U.S. at the time, completely prohibits any single nation from doing so. What would come to be known as the Outer Space Treaty, denied any individual country from claiming any celestial bodies in space. The idea being to make the claims of other planets and moons the birth right of all humanity. What this signifies is that no nation is permitted to store weapons of mass destruction in outer space, and other celestial bodies such as the moon are only designated to be used for diplomatic and peaceful procedures. That rules out the possibility of building any kind of military installation on the surface of local worlds like the moon or Mars. Now, how our president plans on carrying out the creation of a space concentrated military branch whilst refraining from breaking this treaty remains to be clear. Another interesting aspect of the president’s decision is that it completely contradicts his original stance on the subject of space exploration. When the question came up during the debate stages of his presidential campaign he often responded by saying his primary concern was America’s economy, meaning military space expansion was not really up there on his to-do list at the time. Why the change of heart? Conspiracy theorist believe this to be a reaction to new information gained by those in top-tier government positions. Whether that intel is of an extra-terrestrial threat or the concerning agenda of a rival nation, either scenario is terrifying enough for the president to act but in a manner that prevents mass panic and hysteria.
What the Experts Are Saying
There has been a respective number of key individuals who have spoken out on this so-called Space Force. Victor Bondarev, a high-class Russian official, spoke out for his entire country. “If the U.S. withdraws from the 1967 treaty barring nuclear weapons from being stored in outer space, then, of course, not only ours, but also other states, will follow with a tough response aimed at ensuring world security. That is a bold statement to make in general let alone in public and it came out the mouth of a high ranking official from one of Americas biggest rivals. You can read more about that specific story on airforcetimes.com. Although, it can be understood why our neighboring countries would be concerned with an American military dominance in space. Our country already leads the world in defense spending, in addition to having more military installations beyond our borders than any other country as well. It is beyond fair to say that we, the American people, already have a military dominance on this planet. Why our president all of the sudden feels that this dominance should expand to outer space is beyond me. Notable public and official figures here at home have spoken to the media about the subject. The Air Force specifically has had a few representatives speak out on their behalf but Florida Senator Bill Nelson stood out the most when he voiced his opinion on twitter.
“The president told a US general to create a new Space Force as the 6th branch of military today, which generals tell me they don’t want. Thankfully, the president can’t do it without Congress because now is NOT the time to rip the Air Force apart. Too many important missions at stake.”
Congress’s approval is the only way that trump's dreams of a military presence in space can come into fruition. Based on reports from mainstream sources the president is by no means short of allies. Although some congressmen have spoken out against the proposed new branch in the media, others have been supporting it with just as much transparency. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis is another person whose opinion has done a 180-degree flip. He has also recently voiced out to the media about his support for Trump's Space Force. This new supporter might be the opinion needed to get the ball rolling. In the end, it's going to come down to the year 2020 when our government approves the defense budget in the upcoming fiscal year.