Mike Pence, the Vice President of the United States, on Thursday formally announced that his administration hopes to bankroll, no, not universal healthcare for all Americans. Not better support for armed forces veterans. Not improved public education.
No, here in the Land of the Free, we're getting a space force by 2020. It will literally be called Space Force. In a speech at the Pentagon, Pence said the proposed organization would be the sixth branch of the armed forces, sitting alongside the Army, Navy, Air Force, and so on.
The US military has had a long working relationship with space, Pence said.
“The space force is the next and natural evolution of American military strength," the Veep said. "The first American rockets in space were launched by our military. The first American satellites to orbit the Earth were on reconnaissance missions behind the Iron Curtain. The first Americans to step forward and venture into the unknown were the world’s greatest aviators and test pilots from the Navy, Air Force and the Marines.”
Pence, who we really hope knows that Star Wars is a fantasy movie and not a documentary, said the time had finally come for the military to take charge in space, which has turned from “peaceful to contested” to “crowded and adversarial.” The US fears China and Russia will dominate space and launch satellites that are capable of jamming American signals, destroying US sats, and firing weapons at other targets.
And, for what it's worth, Russia and China do each have a space force of their own, to some degree.
The Department of Defense has published more details in this dossier, here, proposing four areas to focus on in order secure US space leadership:
- Transform to more resilient space architectures.
- Strengthen deterrence and warfighting options.
- Improve foundational capabilities, structure, and processes.
- Foster conducive domestic and international environments for space development.
It has also expressed an interest in building “artificial-intelligence-enabled global surveillance” for missile targeting and tracking, as well as establishing a ground-based support infrastructure for communications and control.
President Donald Trump tweeted his support...
Space Force all the way!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 9, 2018
...and yes, this is the same Mike Pence who did this last year:
Mike Pence ignores Nasa 'do not touch' sign https://t.co/x0gdIcbCPp— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) July 8, 2017
The Trump administration wants to funnel $8bn of taxpayers' cash over five years to its buddies in the military contracting world construct and equip America's Space Force. Both the budget and the policy need a green light from Congress before the world will see Uncle Sam's Empire cruisers in orbit. One little sticking point is whether or not the move will trample over the Outer Space Treaty America signed up to in the 1960s.
"The Space Force will unlock our potential and lead to outcomes never before thought possible," the Pentagon document concluded. Correct, we never thought this was a possible outcome. ®