Donald Trump proposes 'Space Force' to battle in the stars

Elias Hubbard
March 14, 2018

Donald Trump has proposed a new brand of armed forces - which he's dubbed the "space force".

Trump told troops at the Miramar Marine Corps Air Station near San Diego that the new group would be able to encapsulate the "tremendous amount" of work the military and government are doing in space-related defence. "We may even have a space force - develop another one".

It turns out Trump was likely referring to last year's National Defense Authorization Act, which The Daily Beast points out stipulates that the Defense Secretary must: "establish in the executive part of the Department of the Air Force a Space Corps". You can emphasize more help for the military in space without going to the massive organizational change and expense, he said.

It could be a bureaucratic nightmare, said O'Keefe, a professor at Syracuse University.

Many in the military are resistant to the idea of a new space arm, with chief of US Strategic Command, Air Force General John Hyten, suggesting last November that while reform to eliminate bureaucracy is necessary to stay ahead of the Russians and Chinese, the idea of a Space Corps is wholly unnecessary. A year ago the President signed a directive seeking to revive the country's moribund space programme.

Move over, Air Force. NASA is much more public, but the military program is just as big. For the past several years, the military has been flying an unmanned space plane, a lot like the retired civilian space shuttle but smaller, experts said. "I leave that to Congress - I made known what I think and now we'll leave it to Congress and their legislative role".

McCurdy, O'Keefe and others said any space force would probably consist of cadets on the ground operating robotic systems in space.

Ultimately, the Space Corps plan was left out of the FY2018 NDAA which authorizes a total of $692.1 billion in discretionary budget authority - approximately $626.4 billion in base budget authority and roughly $65.7 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), senior staffers said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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