While key members of his administration oppose him, Donald Trump seems intent on forging ahead with plans to create a sixth military branch–in outer space, as Renee Parsons reports.
By Renee Parsons
At a recent meeting of the newly-revived National Space Council, President Donald Trump announced the Space Policy Directive: National Space Traffic Management (STM) Policy and ordered the Department of Defense to establish a Space Force as a sixth branch of the US military.
Creating a “separate but equal” Space Corps would need Congressional authorization, however, which could abort Trump’s lift off.
Members of Trump’s own cabinet, including the secretary of defense, are opposed to creating a new military branch, meaning the president’s plans could be left on the launching pad.
The Directive suggests an overly-ambitious mission of broad, wide-ranging goals with no timeline or funding under the guise of a ‘space junk directive’ to clean up a “congested and contested” cosmos. That promises to keep the military industries happy while making space safe for the coming commercial space industry (CSI).
Specifically, the Directive provides a role for the Department of Defense “to protect and defend US space assets and interests.” The Director of National Intelligence is supposed to provide a Space Situational Awareness (SSA) of “knowledge and characterization of space objects.” Expanding on the U.S. role in outer space, Trump could not be clearer about his intentions: “Our destiny, beyond the Earth, is not only a matter of national identity, but a matter of national security. We must have American dominance in space.”
As the U.S. presumes to act on behalf of other countries on the planet and commercial space endeavors, the Directive proposes to establish operational criteria with the assumption that all players will accept such U.S. dominance.
Opposition within the Trump Administration has been vocal, with Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson suggesting that, “The Pentagon is complicated enough. This will make it more complex, add more boxes to the organization chart, and cost more money.”
In an October, 2017…