Those who know me personally know that I am a firm believe that there needs to be a Star Trek-style Starfleet, as long as it is a United Earth Starfleet. Not something controlled by one national government, but something for the benefit of all of humanity. To me, it doesn’t seem like Earth is ready for the United Earth Space Probe Agency.
However, 45 [Note 1] told the Department of Defence (DoD) to “immediately begin the process” to create a new, co-equal branch of the armed forces . Because the Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces [Note 2] has decreed this, we have three questions to ask:
Can 45 authorize a new branch of the armed forces?
Do we need a new branch of the armed forces?
What would this Space Force look like?
Can 45 Authorize A New Branch Of The Armed Forces?
Can a sitting president authorize a branch of the armed forces? According to my understanding of Article I Section 8 of the Constitution of the United States, no. One of the powers vested to Congress is “to raise and support armies” , as seen when the National Security Act of 1947 became law on 26 July 1947 . Secondly, 45 has virtually no support  in creating a sixth branch [Note 3] of the armed forces.
Let’s look at the order itself (click here for the presidential memoranda). There is no mention of a new branch of the armed forces, nor is there mention of a space force ; rather, there is a lot of talk about how “space is becoming increasingly congested and contested, and that trend presents challenges for the safety, stability, and sustainability of U.S. space operations” , as well as the need to deal with that and future methods. Essentially, this executive order is talking about cleaning up space junk . 45 may have been riffing, as this announcement “surprised many military officials, senior aerospace industry executives and lawmakers” .
Do We Need A New Branch Of The Armed Forces?
Do we actually need a United States Space Force? Is the United States Air Force Space Command not enough? Most people in government, from Defense Secretary James Mattis , to Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson , to Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein , to Members of Congress , to former NASA head and Navy secretary Sean O’Keefe , and many more (the Wikipedia article on the USSF has a longer list of people) all believe that we do not need a space force, and that the USAF Space Command is enough.
Only one nation has had a space force as a separate branch of their armed forces: the Russian Federation [Note 4] . Like how the USAF Space Command is a part of the USAF, the Russian Space Forces is currently a part of the Russian Aerospace Forces [Note 4] . The US and Russia are not alone in this, as there is also the People's Liberation Army Strategic Support Force  and the French Joint Space Command . It does not appear to be necessary to have a separate branch for space, as the various space forces each are accomplishing their missions while being parts of their air forces.
What Would The Space Force Look Like?
I imagine that the Space Force, if it were to come into existence, would be very small. It would be divided into three subdivisions: Space Force Command, Space Force Operations, and Space Force Support. Space Force Command would have a Space Staff that looks much like the Air Staff, while Space Force Operations and Space Force Support would likely absorb the majority of the USAF Space Command, United States Army Space and Missile Defense Command, Naval Network Warfare Command, and the United States Space Surveillance Network.
The USSF might have its own basic training centers for enlisted recruits but share the USAF Academy for commissioned officers, like how the Marine Corps has their own boot camps for their enlisted recruits but use the United States Naval Academy to train their commissioned officers. There will need to be more generals to fill the Space Staff, though there may be some elimination of redundancy (if there is any). It looks to me that the Space Force will just have the same capabilities that we already have and be more expensive to operate without any gain.
Do we need a United States Space Force? No. Though we need to continue to reach for the stars, we’re already militarizing space. Perhaps when we all can work together for the benefit of humanity we can have a United Earth Space Probe Agency - until then, let’s not fix what’s not broken.
- As I have said before, I refer to the current president as 45 instead of by name - initially, it was because it was a form of shade. During the lead up to becoming president, he was the public face of hatred and bigotry, and therefore was beneath being named in public discourse. Now, as president, his intense narcissism and his continuing attempts at hiding the fact that he is poorly informed and brash makes it unpalatable to put any power to his name directly, or to link his name to the office that he holds. However, to not specify that one is talking about him is also dangerous, because he is dense enough to not understand that he is the one being talked about, and his adherents can, and have, chalked up criticism that didn’t have his name attached to it as being general political rancor. Hence, to be direct, I call him 45, or the 45th President of the United States. Let’s just hope that he’s not also the final president of the United States.
Read more: https://www.vogue.com/article/trump-critics-avoiding-name
- Article II Section 2 of the Constitution of the United States is the Commander in Chief clause, naming the President of the United States of America as the “Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States” .
- The Coast Guard is also branch of the armed forces ; however, in peace time, it is a part of the Department of Homeland Security, not the Department of Defense .
- I am using the Wikipedia entries for this section due to my inability to read Russian and my lack of familiarity in how the Russian Armed Forces operates.
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