The Vacuum of Reason: A Case Against Trump's Space Force Proposal
Barrow, Gregory D.
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Adversaries of the United States have developed increasingly sophisticated military space capabilities in recent years, and the American advantage in space has shrunk accordingly. These nations have increased their investments in this new warfighting domain, creating offensive technologies that rival the American arsenal, while the U.S. has continued to divert funding and delay the implementation of new strategies that can help maintain air and space dominance. In response, the Trump administration has revived a combatant command that will focus on space-related missions, and has proposed the establishment of a new ‘Space Force’ that will become the sixth branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. The idea of this new service was introduced by some members of the military community decades ago, so the White House proposition has the support of many leaders in the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill. However, there are scores of other influencers in the DoD and in Congress that do not believe that the creation of the Space Force is an appropriate measure to address emerging threats. The proposal has been criticized as a misguided restructuring that will only add burdensome bureaucracy, a money pit that will suck billions of dollars from other defense initiatives, and a campaign ploy meant to bolster Trump’s resume of accomplishments heading into the 2020 presidential election. This essay will discuss the urgency for new U.S. space policy, the factors supporting and opposing Trump’s Space Force, and the political considerations for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. It will ultimately conclude that, though the U.S does need to rethink its space posture, it would be imprudent for Speaker Pelosi to support the creation of the Space Force.