Science

Trump Proposes U.S. Military Space Force: Is He Serious?

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Star Wars may one day become more than just a book and film franchise. If President Donald Trump has his way, the U.S. may build a military space force at some point during his time in office.

He mentioned his idea on Tuesday while speaking to members of the U.S. military at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, according to CNBC. The news network quotes him as describing space as “a war-fighting domain, just like the land, air and sea.” He also said that just like the U.S. Air Force, the nation could also have a military space force.

Trump added that although he initially used the term “space force” as a joke while talking about government spending and commercial spaceflight investments, he later thought it was “a great idea.” CNBC questioned whether the president was still joking about a military space force during his speech, saying that it wasn’t clear whether or not he was still joking. The White House reportedly didn’t respond to the news network’s request for a comment on the issue.

According to Fox News, Trump also told the military members in attendance that he will be spearheading “the largest military buildup since Ronald Reagan, and one of the largest buildups in the history of our nation.” He said he hopes that “something very positive” will come of his planned talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. Trump also promised “the largest pay raise in over a decade” and modernization of the nation’s military force, adding that the U.S. is going to Mars “very soon” and that previous astronauts have been members of the military. He expects the military to enable the U.S. to continue “to lead its way into the stars.”

Trump apparently isn’t the only politician who has talked about the idea of a military space force in recent years. Last year, some lawmakers in the House of Representatives suggested that the U.S. Airforce be split into two sections. Under the proposal, one section would essentially be the current Air Force, which is focused on aviation, while the other branch would be focused on space.

Apparently, the space division would have been called the Space Corps, if it had been implemented into the military spending bill late last year. The language needed to create the new branch of the military didn’t end up in the final version of the bill. However, it did reportedly include a number of orders that could eventually lead to the creation of the Space Corps at some point.

According to CNBC, Republican Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama is one of the largest congressional backers of a military space force. It makes sense that an Alabama lawmaker would be leading the charge for a U.S. military presence in space, given the state’s deep ties with NASA through Huntsville’s Marshall Spaceflight Center and the military through Redstone Arsenal, which is also located in Huntsville.

Rogers’ congressional district doesn’t cover North Alabama, but space and the military are key areas of government employment for his state. Last year when talk about a Space Corps was going on in Congress, he mentioned the idea of a “space Pearl Harbor” in a statement. He said the inclusion of the directives that will pave the way toward a military space force was an important first step toward the creation of the Space Corps.

If the idea of having a military presence in space seems chilling to you, then you’re not alone. However, there are signs that the world’s major governments have already been moving to militarize Earth’s orbit. For example, SpaceX was recently tasked with carrying a top-secret payload into orbit for the U.S. government. The satellite that was to be delivered into space was code-named Zuma, and it’s unclear whether it was actually delivered into orbit.

There were reports that the satellite exploded, but officials have been tight-lipped on the mission. That led some to offer conspiracy theories that the top-secret satellite did make it into orbit after all and that it’s now flying high above the Earth, tasked with work only a few people in the country even know about. SpaceX denied that the satellite exploded, but clearly, government officials don’t want anyone to know what’s going on.

Additionally, National Intelligence Director Dan Coats warned last year in the “Worldwide Threat Assessment” that Russia and China have already been working on militarizing space, Engadget noted.

War In Space (Courtesy: CNN)