Add focus, not bureaucracy to space defense
President Donald Trump is right that the United States needs an effective reaction to the militarization of outer space. He is wrong that we need to create a whole new bureaucracy to do that, however.
Trump has said he wants to create a new branch of the military — a Space Force. That is the only way to ensure Americans are defended in space, he said.
Opposition was to be expected. The Pentagon’s generals and admirals want no competition for power and funding. This time, they may be right, however.
Trump’s idea is that the new Space Force would be on an equal footing with the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. That would require setting up an entirely new command and administrative structure — a bureaucracy.
It would mean more duplication of missions, with the Space Force clearly competing with the Air Force. It would create new headaches in terms of one of the knottiest of military problems, joint operations. It would add needlessly to the defense budget.
Indeed, more emphasis is needed on America’s role in space. Former President Barack Obama handicapped us in that regard, ceding virtual control of critical aspects of space operations to Russia. It is both absurd and dangerous for this country to have to rely on Moscow to transport American astronauts in space.
Rectifying the situation requires more focus, not more bureaucracy.