On June 18, 2018, President Trump abruptly made an announcement at the White House that startled officials. The US President wanted a military force dedicated solely for space. Critics scoffed at the idea and were bewildered at the fact that the President believes we now need soldiers up in space.
President Trump made a speech in the White house about the need of a new military branch dedicated for space. President Trump, quoted during his speech that China and Russia are a threat to America in space, and has already developed missiles that the Air Force radar cannot detect. He quoted, “When it comes to defending America, it is not enough to merely have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space.” He also quoted, “I am hereby directing that the Department of Defense in the Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a space force as the sixth branch of the armed forces.”
Seven weeks later, on August 9th, 2018, Vice President, Mike Pence disclosed that there will be a new military branch, officially called the Space Force. During his 4 hour speech, he covered the pressure America has been under because of China’s ever-advancing weapons that are capable of annihilating America’s satellites. He agreed with President Trump’s aggressive approach towards increasing America’s security outside of Earth.
According to President Trump, the Space Force will be a ‘separate but equal’ military branch with the Air Force. The primary reasons for the Space Force is to clean the debris in space, surveillance, protect Earth from incoming asteroids, and lastly, protect our satellites against possible attacks, in the future.
However, everything comes with a price. Just the foundation of Space Force will require a whopping 8 billion dollars. Not including the time it will take to train the soldiers to be capable of facing the harsh space. This hefty price is why politicians debate the necessity of the Space Force. Whether or not it’s something America really needs at the moment when there are other crises, far greater to be worrying about.
People have a lot of mixed opinions towards the Space Force. American astrophysicist, Neil Degrasse Tyson, believes that the Space Force is essential for defense and that we should give it an opportunity. He believes that the Space Force would be able to do jobs other than fighting. He stated that the Space Force can protect Earth from asteroids, and clean the space debris to prevent natural disasters. However, there are also negative sides to this idea.
Retired NASA astronaut, Scott Kelly worries that the initiation of the Space Force may threaten peaceful Space Exploration and create tense relations with China. On the political side, 1 in 3 politicians voted against the creation of the new military branch. The Vermont Senator, Bernie Sanders remarked, “Maybe, just maybe, we should make sure our people are not dying because they lack health insurance before we start spending billions to militarize outer space.” Also, 2018 statistics show that even 44 percent of the Republicans are not in favor of the creation of a new military branch. However, throughout all this opposition, President Trump plans on continuing this project.
President Trump said that he will finalize the Space Force by 2020. Until then, only time will tell the future of the Space Force and what revolutionary achievements may be accomplished through this new military branch.
Stephen Kim, Grade 8
Rancho Pico Junior High School