Remember all those memes not so long ago about a new branch of the armed forces that was to be called Space Balls —er — The United States Space Force? Well, apparently that wasn’t just a government attempt to add a little humor into the day-to-day life of us DoDeans. It’s a real thing and Vice President Mike Pence just laid out the deets. I can’t lie; I am a bit sad my hubby’s too old to be considered — he rocks a Hans Solo!
The U.S. Space Force: To Infinity and Beyond!
Now, now Toy Story fans…don’t get too excited. The administration is not talking about what happens to Andy after he’s graduated from college, though I am totally waiting on that, you hear me, Pixar? Vice President Pence spoke recently at a press conference about how President Trump is going to bring his vision of a sixth, and separate, branch of the U.S. armed forces that is completely equal to the others (and spouses of various branches all laugh simultaneously in three…two…one…) to fruition.
In fact, while watching the video the White House released, I was half expecting Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum to come walking victoriously out across the stage! (Spoiler: They didn’t, but that music, though!)
Yes, according to the Vice President, the time has come. (Cue dramatic music.)
Space Force: The Final Frontier?
Lest anyone think I am A) disrespectful, or B) unpatriotic, I think it should go without saying that I support all branches of our armed forces, and have for many decades. That said, when I first heard about the new branch, I had to side with Astronaut Mark Kelly (a man who has literally been there, done that) about the redundancy (and repetitiveness — couldn’t help it) of this new branch.
This is a dumb idea. The Air Force does this already. That is their job. What’s next, we move submarines to the 7th branch and call it the “under-the-sea force?” https://t.co/S1urOuJBe6
— Mark Kelly (@ShuttleCDRKelly) June 19, 2018
We sort of already have some pretty amazing peeps in an awesome, already established branch doing this stuff.
So what does this really mean? For our spouses already in, for those interested in joining, for taxpayers, and for the country in general? The report the Department of Defense put out after the vice president’s speech detailed the immediate and important need to continue to be the best in space, as there are increasing adversarial issues in space (from other countries).
The vice president said, “For many years, nations from Russia and China to North Korea and Iran have pursued weapons to jam, blind and disable our navigation and communications satellites via electronic attacks from the ground. But recently, our adversaries have been working to bring new weapons of war into space itself.”
Pence continued to detail the need based on the investment of hypersonic missiles by these countries. These missiles are able to fly up to five miles per second (whoa) at altitudes that may very easily evade missile defense radar detection. To combat this, the necessity of a Space Force exists, he claims.
The Space Force Wants You (Sort Of)
The report identified the actions that the Department of Defense will take as the U.S. continues to evolve in the capabilities we have in space and will create a U.S. Space Command. This “Space Command” will be a unified command and control base for Space Force operations, and will be pivotal in the development of space warfighting doctrine, tactics, protocol, and techniques members of the Space Force will employ.
The report also calls for the creation of a Space Operations Force — yeah, the warfighters who will rock space and be the backbone of the newest armed service. Pence said this force will pull service members of the (already established) branches of the military to offer space expertise during conflict and crisis times. (Ummm…nope, doesn’t sound one…bit…redundant!)
Additionally, the Space Development Agency will also be created. This agency will be where the brave men and women of the Space Force will learn cutting-edge warfighting techniques and skills. Skills like…lightsaber maintenance? Photon absorber?
Possibly, the most important part of the report was the insistence that there are clear lines of responsibility and accountability when managing the Space Force. Because, you know, we’d never want one branch of the armed service to be redundant in doing another’s job, right?
Obviously, I am a tad bit skeptical about the whole going-down of this new branch, particularly when I’ve watched the current branches do incredible things, often on shoestring budgets and with little respect or admiration for the work that they do under unimaginable circumstances. I wonder what additional suffering the current branches will endure in the making of this new and quite possibly, redundant branch.
I like space as much as the next gal. I’ve seen Star Wars a million times and Star Trek a million and three. I am all about defending our country to the fullest, and I accept that other countries will most undoubtedly look to evasion techniques in space as technology develops at warp speed. (See what I did there?) My husband is a Marine test pilot who would give his right arm (and maybe mine too) for the opportunity to go to space, but I have to say that the creation of a new branch — the first in over seven decades — seems like overkill to me when we could actually take advantage of, train, and equip the forces (shout out, Air Force) we already have established to do so.
In the end…it’ll boil down to Congress and what they’re willing to do to fund this new department. Considering there are some pretty important needs on this planet in the already established branches we have, I’ll be watching carefully to see how it all plays out.
In the meantime? I’ll be enjoying the memes!
Photo Credits: Unsplash