Vice President Mike Pence announced on Thursday that the Trump Administration is indeed going forth with plans to incorporate the extragalactic sixth branch of the United States military. First introduced by President Trump at a meeting for the National Space Council, “Space Force” became a rallying cry at numerous Trump rallies across the country, as well as a source of hilarity for many late night talk show hosts. But Pence’s remarks is the first time that a plan has come into place to integrate a new branch of the military since the creations of the Air Force in 1947.
So what exactly is “Space Force” according to the Trump administration? Citing concerns about Russia and China’s growing fleet of satellites and technological advancements in space technology, the administration sees building a separate force as vital to protecting our interests in space. $8 billion in funding over five years for national security space systems, instituting a four-star general to lead the new branch, and the creation of new uniforms are a few of the proposals contained within Pence’s plan. “Space Force” has also become a campaign promise for Trump’s reelections, with the Trump 2020 campaign team already mobilizing new space-themed merchandise to sell.
“Space Force” has received much criticism from politicians, military personnel, and scientists alike. For starters, it already exists. Ronald Reagan created the Air Force Space Command, an extension of the Air Force, to use satellites to control weather forecasts, communications systems and, yes, weapons. Critics argue that the money the Trump administration proposes for an entirely new branch of the army could easily go into this program with the same results. In addition, Space Force is against international law. The United Nations explicitly prohibits any kind of nuclear or other destructive weapons to be utilized in space, and other planets are strictly off limits for any kind of warfare.
“Space Force” has become one of many polarizing issues of Trump’s presidency, with many questioning the need for its existence. Others deem it as another distraction propped up by the administration. With migrant children still being separated from their parents at the border, the devastation of agricultural industries from the trade war with China, and the threat of white nationalism looming, “Space Force” has become the new cover-up to the administration’s injustices.
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