PHILADELPHIA, PA – President Donald Trump on Tuesday shot for the stars with a new idea when he said his new national security strategy recognizes that outer space is a theatre of war. He also floated the idea of creating a Space Force, a brand new branch of the military that would function outside of earth’s atmosphere.
“Space is a war-fighting domain, just like the land, air, and sea,” Trump told an audience of service members at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. “We may even have a Space Force, develop another one, Space Force. We have the Air Force, we’ll have the Space Force.”
Borrowing heavily from science fiction sources such as comic books and television, the president described how he had originally coined the term as a joke while talking about U.S. Government spending and private investment in outer space. It had been uncertain if the president was still joking by the time he completed off his script remarks on a Space Force.
“I said, ‘maybe we need a new force, we’ll call it the Space Force,’ and I was not really serious. Then I said, ‘what a great idea,’ maybe we’ll have to do that,” Trump told the crowd of Marines.
“So think of that, Space Force,” Trump continued to boldly go through his ideas, “because we are spending a lot and we have a lot of private money coming in, tremendous. You saw what happened the other day and tremendous success. From the very beginning, many of our astronauts have been soldiers and airmen, coast guard men, and marines. And our service members will be vital to ensuring America continues to lead the way into the stars.”
The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment. But Trump isn’t the only political leader in Washington who’s mulling the idea of a Space Force.
In June of 2017, a contingent of House lawmakers proposed dividing the Air Force into two distinct branches, one dedicated to aviation and the second, new division devoted to distance ventures.
Language to create a brand-new military division called the Space Corps didn’t make it into the last national defense authorization bill in November, but there were a few new directives included in the legislation which can facilitate the plan of the Space Corps in the future.
Do not expect Captain Kirk ordering phasers set to stun, Battlestar Galactica or beam guns blazing in orbit in the future, space experts looking to create such a force have said. Space Force is less about exploring our Galaxy with warp drive and more about gaining an edge from the highest vantage point possible.
This is much more about enhancing intelligence and cybersecurity than fighting in orbit, Sean O’Keefe, who had been both NASA administrator and Navy secretary under President George W. Bush, told CBS News.
Some opponents of the Space Force idea have said a military group patterned after Starfleet, Star Command or even Star Com can make it harder to keep Earth’s orbit a place of peaceful exploration.
President Trump’s own defense secretary and Air Force secretary “argued vociferously against it when members of Congress forced it last year,” O’Keefe revealed.
“You are able to emphasize more aid for the military in distance without going to massive organizational changes and expenses,” he said. “It might be a bureaucratic nightmare,” said O’Keefe, a professor at Syracuse University.
The History of the Idea
Ever since the Space Age began with the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik, there was a military and national safety aspect to distance, although there are treaties and a United Nations committee that speak about keeping outer space a place of peace.
From the 50s, President Dwight Eisenhower created two different space programs, a civilian one which became NASA, and a military one.
NASA is more widely known to the general public, but the military program Air Force Space Command is equally as large. The military space program has mostly been directed by the Air Force.
For the past several decades, the military has been flying an unmanned space plane, much such as the retracted civil space shuttle, however, smaller, specialists said. The army played with the idea of an Air Force space station in orbit at the 1960 s, but President Richard Nixon’s administration killed the idea, largely since found that the efforts of the robotic space were more efficient and efficient, McCurdy said.
McCurdy, O’Keefe, and others said any Space Force put together today would probably consist of cadets on the ground operating robotic systems in distance.
NewsWorld Convenes its Own Panel of Space Force Experts
NewsWorld reached out to its own panel experts, seeking out new insight and new civil discourse on the matter. Would it be possible for the Trump administration to create a bold new military branch?
Mike Bannan of Results Driven Marketing, a cutting-edge digital marketing firm that dabbles in AI, was initially stunned by the suggestion.
“I can’t believe [our President],” said Bannan when he first heard of the Space Force comments. “This guy is always coming up with creative solutions to the world’s problems.”
But after considering the idea more thoughtfully, Bannan noted the significance of the idea. “This would be the first new military branch created in my lifetime. That’s historic.”
Another local expert, Steve Myers, weighed in very positively about the idea. Myers, whose credentials include winning a trivia contest at a Cherry Hill Star Trek Convention, and penning a comic book series about an Earth-based space force, was excited at the prospect.
“The stars have been the next step for us since we first set foot on the moon,” Myers said. “And this country has always sought to reach above and beyond.”
Myers liked the idea so much he volunteered to be the nascent agency’s first Director and even provided NewsWorld with a possible logo:
Bringing the discussion back to earth, our final expert felt the idea to be absurd. Alvin F. de Levie, a candidate for the Penn State Board of Trustees, said, “don’t we have enough issues right here on planet Earth?”
De Levie said he felt the idea would be a supreme waste of time, money and resources that could be better spent on things like healthcare and tax reform.
At the time of publication, Daniel Shelton of the Flat Earth Society, declined to comment on the feasibility of Trump’s Space Force.