Sky’s no longer the limit
Concerned that the satellites Americans and our military depend on are in jeopardy, the top Republican and top Democrat on the House Subcommittee on Strategic Forces are pushing a proposal to create a new branch of the armed services: the United States Space Corps.
Reps. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., and Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., say space is not getting enough military attention. Americans communicate through satellites and navigate by them. China has proved that it can destroy a satellite by taking out one of its own. Were an enemy to attack U.S. satellites, it “would crush our economy and paralyze our military.”
The proposal, which has already passed the House of Representatives as part of defense authorization, would put the Space Corps under the Air Force, much as the Marines are under the Navy. It faces an uphill battle. The secretary of the Air Force says it would make military bureaucracy more complex at a time when “we are trying to simplify it.”
But sometimes, new bureaucracy is worth building. We rely on satellites, so they must be protected.
Military development can lead to technological progress. The GPS system was created for the military. The Internet was born from Defense Department research. And then there’s the Jeep. It’s too soon to tell what technologies a Space Corps might foster. But it’s not too soon to look forward to seeing how they’ll contribute to civilian life.
And while a Space Corps dedicated to protecting satellites is a long way from a Starfleet that could help colonize other planets or protect those colonies, it may be the germ of one—and with Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Richard Branson all working on commercial space flight, Americans alive today may live to need a military branch that can protect them in orbit and beyond.
It all comes down to three words, really: “Make it so.”