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Poll: Does the USA need a Space Force?



As we approach the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landings, more attention than ever is being given to the future of space activity. While some are calling for a return to the moon, others are looking to take another giant leap to landing on another planet. But the plan that seems to be getting prioritised for the nation that put a footprint on the lunar surface could be the most contentious of all - the formation of the US Space Force.

With proposals already launched, now seems the perfect time to ask, does the US need a Space Force? We want to hear what you think. Have your say on the Space Force in this weeks poll.

“It is not merely enough we have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space.” - Donald J. Trump.

The Space Force logo as selected in an online vote by supporters of the President
(Image via

Just over a year ago US President Donald Trump launched his proposal with the Defense Department to establish a Space Force as the sixth branch of the United States Armed Forces - “an elite group of war fighters specialising in the domain of space”. Last month the House Armed Services Committee approved a proposal for a space-based military branch, though they amended the name to “Space Corps”. The proposal will also create a new commandant of the Space Corps, who would join the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

It’s estimated that formation of the Space Force/Corps will come at a cost of $3.6 billion over five years, followed by annual costs in perpetuity between $800 million and £1.3 billion. This is still, however, significantly less than the estimation floated by Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson in a leaked email last year - which ran the bill up to $13 billion.

But aside from the cost - what would a Space Force actually do? 

A Space Force (or Space Corps) would take military activities beyond the Earth's atmosphere
(Image via Pexels)

While it may sound like a military branch dedicated to fighting future wars in outer space, the reality is...well actually that’s pretty accurate. According to a report released by the Pentagon, one of the three immediate actions for setting up a Space Force is the creation of a United States Space Command, led by a four-star general or flag officer that would “direct and improve operations for space war fighting”.

The idea is not as far-fetched as it sounds. In 2007 China tested an anti-satellite missile which impacted with one of their own defunct weather satellites, raining debris 500 miles above the Earth’s surface. In 2014, an object that had originally been identified as Russian space junk was revealed to be an autonomous robot that could dock with satellites. Since military services rely on satellites for GPS, intelligence gathering and forecasting weather - protecting them could become a vital task in future warfare. Both China and Russia are thought to have already integrated anti-satellite attacks as wartime protocols.

Previous US space activity has been peaceful and mostly conducted for scientific, not military purposes
(Image via Pexels)

Aside from setting up a Space Command to fight wars in the stars, the Pentagon’s report listed two other actions the Department of Defense would need to take to launch Space Force: 

  • - Establish a Space Development Agency, which would develop and test national-security capabilities and technology in space.
  • - Establish a Space Operations Force, which will gather space experts from throughout the military to provide expertise to combat commanders and anyone else throughout Space Force.

If the proposal is signed off by the House or Representatives and Space Force (or Corps) becomes a reality, the US won’t be the only ones with their own dedicated military services operating beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. Both Russia and China established their own variations back in 2015 - the Russian Space Force as a branch of the Russian Aerospace Forces, and the People’s Liberation Army Strategic Support Force as China’s space and cyberwarfare branch of the People’s Liberation Army.

Despite these potential threats, many people see the formation of a Space Force as a waste of taxpayer money, such as potential Democrat candidate, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders who tweeted “Maybe, just maybe, we should make sure our people are not dying because they lack health insurance before we start spending billions to militarize outer space.”

While many question the necessity of an entirely new military branch dedicated to space battles, high ranking officials in Trump’s camp argue that it could be essential, with Senator Ted Cruz taking to congress to advocate a deterrent for potential space pirates.

Back on Planet Earth, Trump hopes to launch the US space force in 2020, and is already making it a major factor in his re-election campaign, with supporters able to purchase Space Force branded merchandise.

Have your say on taking military activity up to space in this week's EngineeringPro poll
(Image via Pexels)

Have your say

What do you think? Are you in favour of the USA setting up a new military wing to fight wars in space, or do you think the money could be better spent closer to home? Vote now in our poll at the top of this page, or leave a comment below.

The results will be published on Monday 15th July, and featured along with the best comments in next week’s EngineeringPro newsletter.

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Poll: Does the USA need a Space Force? - Time to read 5 min
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