President Trump Directs Pentagon To Create A 'Space Force' In What Is Surely Not Any Kind Of Distraction From Crying Children
from the three-card-donnie dept
You may recall that about this time last year, the House of Representatives put together a budget that included funding for a brand new military branch dubbed the Space Force. At the time, our take is that this was always inevitable, as humanity tends to carry its war-making luggage everywhere we go and, since we go to space, we’re going to have a Space Force. More surprising was the pushback from those who have a thing or two to say about military matters, such as Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who noted that setting up a new military branch was hellishly complicated, and required congressional approval.
Mattis, in a letter to Rep. Mike Turner — an Ohio Republican leading the congressional effort against the Space Corps — said he was opposed to adding “additional organizational and administrative tail” to the Pentagon.
“At a time when we are trying to integrate the Department’s joint warfighting functions, I do not wish to add a separate service that would likely present a narrower and even parochial approach to space operations,” Mattis wrote.
One can read that as government-speak for: “No, this is stupid, why are you proposing this, everything is going fine, hey, is this thing even on?” Currently, space-based operations for the military are headed up by the Air Force Space Command. There is no denying that orbital operations are critical to the success of the United States military, given all of the satellite assets currently floating around the near-inky void. There has also been no indication that the Air Force is not up to the job, given the current lack of space-based infantry skirmishes or ground (ahem) operations.
This week, however, President Trump directed the Pentagon to create his new Space Force. It would be absolutely absurd not to notice the timing of the announcement that grabbed at least some of the headline space from news organizations that would otherwise have been directed at video and audio of toddlers in cages as they wept openly for their parents. It seems the Dear Leader couldn’t help but notice this timing either, even as he made his announcement.
In remarks that ranged over a variety of unrelated topics, Mr. Trump began by saying current U.S. employment levels were the best “in recorded history” and blaming current immigration problems on the Democrats, saying “we have the worst immigration laws in the entire world” and that ongoing issues could be resolved “very quickly if the Democrats come to the table.”
Turning his attention to space, the president praised the National Space Council and its chairman, Vice President Mike Pence, for its work re-focusing national space policy, saying “for too many years, our dreams of exploration and discovery were really squandered by politics and bureaucracy. And we knocked that out.”
“My administration is reclaiming America’s heritage as the world’s greatest space-faring nation,” he went on. “The essence of the American character is to explore new horizons and to tame new frontiers. But our destiny, beyond the Earth, is not only a matter of national identity, but a matter of national security.”
Look, space exploration is sorely in need of funding. That said, nothing about creating a new fighting force for space is going to be quick, easy, or bring about the kinds of results we could see either by funding current space exploration organizations (hey, remember NASA?) or private companies now taking up the challenge. As the Pentagon noted in its response, this foray into the final frontier is going to take a long, long time to set up.
The Pentagon’s chief spokesperson Dana W. White issued a statement suggesting the process will take some time.
“We understand the President’s guidance. Our Policy Board will begin working on this issue, which has implications for intelligence operations for the Air Force, Army, Marines and Navy. Working with Congress, this will be a deliberate process with a great deal of input from multiple stakeholders.”
One can read that as Pentagon-speak for: “Uh, okay, but this is going to take, like, forever.” Which, honestly, is probably besides the point. Whatever you might think of the current politics and immigration policy on display, there is little denying that this grand announcement came on the heels of a deluge of negative press and headlines for the President. Whatever side of the political spectrum you’re on, hopefully we’re all in agreement that space operations are important. If we do, then we should likewise agree that callous calls for massive new programs and full military branches being used as a distraction are an affront to that importance.