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Will the Trump Adminstration succeed in creating a "Space Force" before the 2020 presidential election?
This March, President Trump announced that America would create a 6th branch of the military, a so-called "Space Force". Per ABC News, Trump said:
It is not enough to merely have an American presence in space, we must have American dominance in space. Very importantly I'm hereby directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a space force as the sixth branch of the armed forces, that is a big statement... We are going to have the Air Force and we are going to have the space force, separate but equal, it is going to be something.
Bloomberg's editorial board seemed open to the idea, writing:
plenty of critics have argued — persuasively — that the current arrangement is impeding much-needed change and innovation. Could Trump’s Space Force, or something like it, do better? Several studies, dating back to 2001, suggest that it could. If organized with care and forethought, such a force could clarify accountability, accelerate decision-making, rationalize the procurement process, improve recruitment, and ease pressure on the broader Air Force, which is heavily burdened with more traditional responsibilities.
Not everyone agrees. Writing for Slate, Fred Kaplan argues:
The special thing about satellites and the organizations that control or operate them (Air Force Space Command, the NRO, and other smaller outfits) is that they are, by nature, subordinate to other branches of the armed forces—to wars that are fought not in outer space but on Earth or in the atmosphere. Space assets service air, naval, and ground forces by providing them with intelligence, communications, and guidance for missiles and smart bombs. Placing these vital assets under the command of a four-star general in a separate service—and imbuing its officers and enlisted personnel with the élan of an elite force that doesn’t answer to the other services of the armed forces and that, in fact, competes with them for resources—would run counter to the nation’s needs.
In any event, for the Space Force to materialize, Congress would have to authorize and fund it.
Will legislators do so prior to the 2020 presidential election?
Resolution is positive if a bill is passed by congress and signed by the President by Nov 1. 2020 that formally establishes a new branch of the military focusing on space.
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