No. No it does not.
But that’s exactly what the Trump administration wants, and so today, August 9, 2018, America’s eerily stone-faced Vice President Mike Pence confirmed that there will indeed (pending Congress approval) be a new sixth branch of the U.S. military up and running by 2020, one dedicated to “restoring America’s leadership in space”… whatever that is supposed to mean.
To me it sounds more like a grand subtweet than an actual objective.
Either way, it’s unnecessary…not to mention expensive and potentially dangerous.
The idea of combat in space is horrifying. Fun sci-fi movies aside, the logistics of doing anything of purpose in orbit has its own set of physical rules that’s unlike anything on the ground, in the air, or in the sea. I suppose that’s the intention of creating a completely separate military division—to the tune of $8 billion over the next five years—but then again once it exists it will only be a certain amount of time before a use is found for it…found, or created.
Yes, the U.S. has property in space. It has interests in space. Many countries do. Some of those countries are not the political allies of the United States.
But a full military branch, with a “Space Command” (yes that will also be a thing) and space troops and space weaponry? To do what, defend satellites from being knocked offline? That we could very well do from the ground, and with specialists we already have. Invest in more training, more technology. Change priorities. But please, let’s not militarize space into a full-fledged war zone. (Which under the 1967 Outer Space Treaty we aren’t supposed to do anyway.)
It won’t end well.
“Why do we have a Navy? We have a Navy to protect shipping lanes.Until we have those same needs in space, the Air Force and the other services are doing all the things we need to do.”
— Joan Johnson-Freese, space security expert at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, RI (source)
You can find the full transcript of VP Pence’s Pentagon speech here (and be sure not to miss his characteristic gear-shift into full preacher mode at the end with his overtly religious statements about “ancient words” and “He will hold fast this great nation in the great beyond” etc. etc.) *eyeroll*
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Of course it wouldn’t be Trump if there wasn’t something tacky about it, and so to his email subscribers the president issued a poll of logos to pick from (all pretty much equally uninspired and/or grossly derivative) so that he can eventually stick them on hats and t-shirts to make a buck on. Because Trump.
*Note: the image above is the cover of a G.I. Joe comic book. But is it really all that far-off?