Originally appeared on The American Conservative.
Trump announced that he is ordering the creation of a “Space Force” as a new branch of the military. Among other problems with this proposal is that creating a new branch is entirely unnecessary:
But the idea has faced resistance from senior Pentagon officials. Last fall, Rogers and Coopers’ proposal was scrapped after Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein said it would lead to unnecessary costs and bureaucracy.
“I oppose the creation of a new military service and additional organizational layers at a time when we are focused on reducing overhead and integrating joint warfighting functions,” Mattis said in October in a memo to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Nothing could be more wasteful and redundant than creating a new branch of the military for space. There is no compelling reason to create a new branch of the military. It would mean expanding an already bloated military budget while breaking apart an existing branch just for the sake of doing it. The idea is already running into resistance:
The president told a US general to create a new Space Force as 6th branch of military today, which generals tell me they don’t want. Thankfully the president can’t do it without Congress because now is NOT the time to rip the Air Force apart. Too many important missions at stake. https://t.co/uYzqg1W8nE
— Senator Bill Nelson (@SenBillNelson) June 18, 2018
Further militarizing outer space for the purposes of fighting wars there is a very dangerous proposition that the US should flatly reject. Peter Wismer explains why:
The laws of war try to make sure that the consequences of a war are generally restricted to the countries fighting the war. A war in space could never achieve that. It would affect the global community and create significant damage to all. The United States would be the country to suffer the most because its dependence on space is by far the greatest, as it possesses the most satellites.
It is in the interest of the United States and the rest of the world to make sure that space never becomes a war-fighting domain. We can achieve that by continuing to make sure it is neither permissible nor opportune.
Congress should see the president’s proposal for the dangerous and foolish thing that it is and refuse to support it.
Daniel Larison is a senior editor at The American Conservative, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and is a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Dallas. Follow him on Twitter. This article is reprinted from The American Conservative with permission.