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Does America Need a Military "Space Corps"?

by Countable | 7.13.17

The Air Force is poised to fly even farther, with the possible addition of a new, U.S. "Space Corps."

A key House subcommittee approved a measure to create the program. Its mission: protect America, and American assets, from threats occurring beyond Earth’s atmosphere. "Assets" include imaging and communications equipment, spy satellites, and other military gear in the stratosphere and beyond.

The measure has bipartisan support. During consideration of the program in a House Armed Services subcommittee, Congressman Mike Rogers (R-AL) warned,

"It has been painfully apparent from the briefings we’ve gotten from our general officers that both Russia and China have nearly caught us in space capabilities."

But some in the military, including the Secretary of Defense himself, General James Mattis, think it’s premature to launch a new program.

The Air Force already has a Space Command wing; adding the Space Corps would create "a separate military service responsible for national security space programs for which the Air Force is today responsible." Think of it the way the Marine Corps functions within the Navy. Or Starfleet operates within the United Federation of Planets. The Space Corps would be led by its own chief, who’d have a spot on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

This week Secretary Mattis voiced his opposition to the idea in a letter to like-minded Congressman Michael Turner (R-OH).

"I strongly urge Congress to reconsider the proposal of a separate service Space Corps." Mattis continued, “I believe it is premature to add additional organization and administrative tail to the department at a time I am trying to reduce overhead.”

The Air Force also doesn’t want it. Secretary Heather Wilson told Turner in a letter that the Space Corps,

"...would create additional seams between the services, disrupt ongoing efforts to establish a warfighting culture and new capabilities, and require costly duplication of personnel and resources.”

Cost is another concern. The Trump administration’s proposed budget asks for $7.7 billion to increase space systems within the Air Force. That’s independent of the $19.1 billion earmarked for NASA, which is a civilian agency. The projected pricetag of a Space Corps has not been announced.

Beyond the question of whether the U.S. needs a military presence in space, some see an echo of "Star Wars," President Ronald Reagan’s failed Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). That program was intended to defend the U.S. from long-range Soviet missiles. But SDI proved to be too costly, its technology too complex, and later administrations scrapped most of its work.

Another question: with a burgeoning commercial space industry, is a new government program really necessary? The Pentagon already works with satellite imaging company DigitalGlobe and the private, cosmo-juggernaut SpaceX. In the last decade, the lines between commercial, military and scientific exploration of space have become increasingly blurred.

(Writer's Note: The one thing all parties seem to agree on? Astronaut ice cream needs some new flavors. Perhaps "Pentagon Peanut Butter," or “Cosmic Cookie-Dough.”)

Do you think the U.S. should establish a Space Corps within the military? Should the Pentagon consider commercial space options instead? Does America need a military presence in space? Hit the Take Action button and tell your Reps!

--Josh Herman

(Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Defense)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(387)
  • TuckerWantsLiberty
    07/14/2017
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    The military should absolutely NOT have its scope expanded. I don't know how to explain basic math to you - WE CANNOT AFFORD THE MILITARY WE ALREADY HAVE.

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  • Evan
    07/13/2017
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    Start another space race, but this time include military applications that only further divide humanity. What could possibly go wrong?

    Like (93)
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  • Frank
    07/14/2017
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    There has been a long and successful history of co-operation in sharing space technology with other space capable nations. This relationship has benefited the scientific community ten-fold and the moment any nation militarizes space flight and space technology is the moment where we lose this valuable progress and relation with other nations. This would be a set back for not only the US but for humanity and our efforts in discovering new technologies and progress we've made over the last couple decades. The US needs to be a leader in space flight and enduring technological progress not a leader in starting another Cold War and hostilities with other nations.

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  • Melvin
    07/14/2017
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    (Tldr; don't make a military branch bring NASA back to it former glory with an actually decent budget.) I don't understand why we would need something like this. America hasn't been number 1 in alot of areas for decades but we go having politicians telling us "Our 'enemies' have almost reached out space capabilities!" What consequence does that have for us? Other then even more money being thrown at projects to protect us from imaginary enemies, This time from space? Nasa was doing this, albeit with the offensive capabilities but I think politicians and the military have enough to worry about on earth before we to spend the effort to also worry about being the space police.

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  • Diana
    07/13/2017
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    We already have satellites capable of producing an EMP over a given area - even NK has one over us, for Pete's sake. I'd rather put $$ towards repairing and improving our infrastructure - something EVERYBODY can use!

    Like (45)
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  • Kodiwodi
    07/14/2017
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    This is absolutely lunacy at a time when we have far more than we need in Congress. No we don't need another wasteful military division. No we have no one to fight in space. We are too busy trying to kill each other on earth. Take that money and build a department of peace.

    Like (37)
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  • Mike
    07/13/2017
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    We do not need to militarize space. We can't afford it.

    Like (32)
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  • Mary
    07/14/2017
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    The U.S. doesn't need a military presence in space. Space exploration for scientific advancement makes sense. Being the greatest on earth and in space is part of the narcissistic sickness.

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  • Jim2423
    07/13/2017
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    Another uniform, another patch, another squadron, another command, another commanding general. Why, we were Army Air Corp until 1948. So being we already have an Air Force why invent something new when we are already flying further and faster. No.

    Like (21)
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  • John
    07/14/2017
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    The Space Corps should be supported, as American people and beliefs should be defended on all fronts, including space.

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  • Anya
    07/14/2017
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    Let's get our issues and priorities straight here on planet earth first before we begin thinking strong arming space is the solution. Humanity extends beyond myopic greed and control.

    Like (17)
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  • JayFeat
    07/13/2017
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    If we already have a program similar to this in the Air Force then why do we need to spend more tax-payer money on another?

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  • Elizabeth
    07/13/2017
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    Say what?!?!?!?! Mr Buzz Aldridge really confused confused when 45 talked about needing space security. He is not alone in his confusion. What exactly are we trying to protect ourselves from? Aliens????? I thought that was what the wall was for??? Now we have to worry about space aliens as well??? Come on congress!!! North Korea and China will not be needing to go to space to attack us unless they plan to insist the help of real aliens. Do NOT waste our tax dollars on something as stupid as this. Really???? 🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️ I must have totally misunderstood this whole bill.

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  • DannyMiller
    07/14/2017
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    Yes, I believe that we need a space force. We need to have one in place before our enemies do. Otherwise they will have the advantage over us.

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  • TheHippyHippie
    07/14/2017
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    I'll tell you what we do need: schools that can adequately accommodate their students, teachers that are compassionate and determined, better accessibility and inclusion of students with disabilities, and adequate funding to provide schools with the resources they need. If we improve our schools, we might have more future engineers to help prepare for the Space War that we are suddenly so concerned about.

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  • Andrew
    07/14/2017
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    No. Space should not be militarized. We should strive to let space be free of national conflicts, and use it as a mechanism for joint missions and international cooperation. I am firmly against spreading our land-based conflicts to space.

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  • Janis
    07/14/2017
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    We definitely do not need a space corps. Use the money to build peace.

    Like (10)
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  • Mike kathi
    07/14/2017
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    OMG! We don't need another agency and what is wrong with the Air Force. Are they not capable anymore.

    Like (7)
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  • Patricia
    07/14/2017
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    I am with Secretary Mattis on this one, "I strongly urge Congress to reconsider the proposal of a separate service Space Corps." Mattis continued, “I believe it is premature to add additional organization and administrative tail to the department at a time I am trying to reduce overhead.” Let the Air Force take on this capability IF it is even needed. First, we should be making sure that every American has adequate health care that will not bankrupt them!

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  • Latricia
    07/14/2017
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    I do not support the creation of a military "Space Corp". Instead we should be providing more support to NASA and creating strategic partnerships with commercial companies such as SpaceX. Much of the technology we have today is a result of the space program under NASA. We need to be concentrating on innovation and not looking for weak justifications to funnel more money to defense contractors.

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