When the idea of Space Force was first, let’s say, launched, I thought about Star Wars and Star Trek, but it sounded more like Spaceballs. After the jokes, let’s say, made first contact, I started to think about the real concerns, costs, and possibilities of a US Space Force. Maybe we do need this.
Writing in Sunday’s Washington Post Vice President Mike Pence laid out the case. First the concerns- China and Russia are utilizing space for operations that could directly impact our national sovereignty. Pence writes,
“The domain of space, once desolate and uncontested, is now crowded and confrontational. As the Defense Intelligence Agency detailed in a recent report, China and Russia are aggressively developing and deploying capabilities- including anti-satellite weapons, airborne lasers, menacing ‘on-orbit’ capabilities and evasive hypersonic missiles- that have transformed space into a war-fighting domain.”
If that’s the case, then we can’t fall behind.
Now the costs- Pence writes,
“The first-year cost to stand up a lean, focused Space Force is expected to $72 million, and less than $2 billion total over the next five years. Once fully established, the additional cost will be roughly $500 million per year, the equivalent of 0.07 percent of our entire defense budget.”
That $500 million number is a lot, that’s real money, but not a tremendous amount; right now President Trump wants $2 billion for a border wall. And the startup cost of just $72 million in the first year is nothing. It sounds a lot more cost feasible than I first thought.
Now the possibilities- so practical they are practically boring. We won’t be building the Millennium Falcon, or the starship Enterprise, and the Death Star is not going to happen. Instead, we would create satellite defenses, lasers, and missiles. Those projects would create good paying jobs that private contractors could handle at competitive rates.
Space Force would be part of the Air Force. Pence writes, “Creating the Space Force within the Air Force is the best way to minimize duplication of effort and eliminate bureaucratic inefficiencies.” I’m all in favor of letting the private sector take the lead in as many industries as they can, but outer space is a national security concern and therefore our government needs to take the lead on any military/police activities.
The US dominated the space race before. There is an American flag on the moon, not a Virgin Atlantic flag, and that’s important. That accomplishment meant a lot to our national pride (a feeling that the radical left wants to destroy with their open borders and erosion of all things related to national identity). We came together before under the desire to be pioneers in space and we can come together again under that same desire to be influential above Earth’s atmosphere.
Space Force could help protect our national security interests from increasingly aggressive adversaries, it doesn’t cost that much, and initial end goals are practical and reachable. This could work.