Trump Wants to Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before… Establishing a U.S. Space Force

Pop Quiz: Which of our nation’s five established military branches is the youngest? I’ll provide the answer at the tail end of this piece.

I bring this up because there is a chance the U.S. will add a sixth branch soon. (The other five are the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.)

Last month, President Donald Trump directed the Pentagon to establish a “Space Force” as the sixth and newest branch. This is to ensure American dominance “on the high frontier.”

He made the announcement while speaking at a National Space Council meeting at the White House.

Plenty of “Space” for Discussion

Trump also called for his administration’s third Space Policy Directive. This one would establish new protocols and procedures to manage and track the increasing number of satellites in low-Earth orbit.

Not to mention the tens of thousands of pieces of space junk and debris that pose risks to spacecraft.

One of the previous Space Policy Directives called for returning humans to the moon before missions to Mars.

The other was aimed at streamlining the federal space bureaucracy. That’s to reduce red tape on licensing and the oversight of commercial space activity.

Trump Seeks ‘American Dominance in Space’

“My administration is reclaiming America’s heritage as the world’s greatest space-faring nation,” Trump said.
To put it in perspective, it has been nearly 46 years since the last manned mission on the moon occurred with our current space program.

“The essence of the American character is to explore new horizons and to tame new frontiers. But our destiny, beyond the Earth, is not only a matter of national identity, but a matter of national security.”

Trump said that in the future, defending America will require not just a presence in space. But also, “American dominance in space.”

Although the president did not provide more details, it’s obvious this would be a huge undertaking. There will be much congressional debate before it’s a done deal.

An Idea Whose Time Has Come?

Some people argue that in the 21st century, it just makes sense. We’re already using space for satellite-based intelligence. Plus communications, weapons command, cyber capabilities and secure communications.

Over time, it will become more important to protect those assets. Especially because Russia and China have developed anti-satellite weapons. In fact, China recently made a dramatic showing of shooting down one of its own disabled satellites.

Needless to say, there will be pushback to Trump’s initiative.

Democratic Senator Bill Nelson of Florida tweeted that military generals don’t want a new military branch. He added that “now is NOT the time to rip the Air Force apart. Too many important missions at stake.”

Progress Already Being Made

But Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said they’re making good progress on Trump’s Space Policy Directives.

That includes reducing red tape in the commercial space market. And encouraging private-sector development of low-Earth orbit, including space tourism.

And NASA’s new administrator, Jim Bridenstine, said his agency is developing concepts for an orbital “gateway” space station.

It would circle the moon and serve as a base of operations. It would also be a jumping off point for future flights into deep space.

Bipartisan Support Needed for Longevity

There is a Republican in the White House. And there are Republican majorities in the House and Senate right now.

So, the GOP could possibly use those advantages to push these space initiatives through.

But, gaining bi-partisan support for these plans would be the wise course of action. Otherwise, an eventual change in leadership could result in having everything overturned.

As Terry Virts, a veteran shuttle astronaut and space station crew member, said, “Getting back to the moon and eventually to Mars does not depend on rocket science. It depends on political science.”

What Do You Think?

Ok, as promised, here’s the answer to that trivia question I asked at the beginning of this email.

Our nation’s youngest military branch is…

The Air Force. Added shortly after World War II, the U.S. Air Force is “only” 71 years old.

Now I’d love to hear what you think.

How do you feel about President Trump’s idea for a U.S. Space Force?

Do you believe it’s necessary to protect Americans in the 21st century?

Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts.

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