HomeNewsPresident Trump: Space Force To Counter Russia And China
June 19, 2018
President Trump: Space Force To Counter Russia And China
(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Delano Scott)
By 1600 Staff
President Trump has announced his intention to establish a new branch of the Armed Forces, currently known as a “Space Force”. The move is meant to maintain American power, and counter threats from rivals in Russia and China.
President Donald Trump has announced his intention to build a new military branch dedicated to taking on threats in outer space, a step already taken by top rivals Russia and China. Trump announced Monday that he would instruct the Defense Department to begin working on the so-called “Space Force” that would be “separate but equal” to the U.S. Air Force. The Republican leader argued that the planned sixth branch to the military was necessary to avoid “China and Russia and other countries leading us.”
“When it comes to defending America, it is not enough to merely have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space. So important.”Much like the original “Space Race” motivated by Soviet leaps in satellite and spaceflight technology, Trump’s ambitions are rooted in the fear that Washington’s rivals are already looking to fortify the final frontier and that the U.S. is falling behind.
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The Soviet Union also tested weapons in space, and, shortly after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia formed the Russian Space Forces in 1992 out of previous space-focused programs run by Moscow. The Russian Space Forces were replaced by the Russian Aerospace Defense Forces in 2011, but later reinstated after that branch was merged with the Russian Air Force. The Russian Space Forces now operate under the umbrella of the Russian Aerospace Forces and, like many other aspects of the Russian military, Russian President Vladimir Putin has sought to reinvigorate the branch to its former Soviet glory and beyond.
China, which has been increasingly building its defense ties with Russia, has also envisioned space as a crucial target for widespread military reforms. Chinese President Xi Jinping has embarked a sprawling reorganization of the world’s largest standing armed forces, including the 2015 addition of the Strategic Support Force, which oversees space, cyber and electronic warfare missions.
Both Russia and China have pursued anti-satellite weaponry and Trump’s “America First” National Security Strategy released in December frequently listed “space” along with air, maritime and cyberdefense commands. In reference to “other countries” working on counter-space weapons, the document warned that “Any harmful interference with or an attack upon critical components of our space architecture that directly affects this vital U.S. interest will be met with a deliberate response at a time, place, manner, and domain of our choosing.” Trump is not alone in advocating for a greater military focus on space. Last June, the House Committee on Armed Services voted on a proposal to include the “U.S. Space Corps” in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act, but the move was opposed by the various military leaders and later dropped in favor of boosting support for the existing U.S. Air Force Space Command.
Basically, even though President Obama said America would not “militarize space”, Russia and China are already pursuing efforts to do just that. Given the American dependence on satellite technology, it is vital to our national defense to counter any efforts to prevent any rival nation from gaining a strategic advantage in space. President Trump is already experiencing similar criticism to what President Reagan did when he announced the Strategic Defense Initiative, derided as “Star Wars”, to counter a Soviet nuclear attack. The historic move by President Trump is sure to have far reaching implications for defense for years to come.