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Analysis

Does America Need a Space Force?

A new service branch would put more bureaucracy between critical capabilities and the troops who need them.
United Launch Alliance's Delta IV GPS III Magellan rocket launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, Aug. 22, 2019. The GPS III lifted off from Space Launch Complex-37 with the goal of modernizing the navigation network with a new generation of satellites. (Photo: U.S. Air Force / Airman 1st Class Dalton Williams)

This piece originally appeared on DefenseOne.

With the impeachment debate moving full speed ahead, President Trump may be hard-pressed to move forward on his larger agenda in the months to come. But a few key policy issues are likely to continue to be the subject of intense debate. One, of course, is the president’s much-touted and ill-conceived “wall” on the U.S.-Mexico border. Another, less discussed but also close to his heart, is the president’s desire to build a Space Force as a sixth branch of the U.S. armed forces, alongside the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard.

How quickly the Space Force develops will depend in part on the outcome of this year’s National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, which in the short term at least is focused on parallel proposals to create a “space corps” in the House or a “space command” in the Senate under the supervision of the Air Force, which may or may not be a stepping stone towards a full-fledged Space Force.

As members of the Center for International Policy’s Sustainable Defense Task Force, we have strongly urged that a Space Force not be created, because it is likely to increase bureaucratic waste, encourage the development of costly and unworkable high-tech weapons systems, and to focus attention on the further militarization of space rather than how best to cooperatively manage the risks to America’s civilian and military space assets. It is also likely to be costly—recent reporting by Bloomberg indicates even the limited Space Development Agency would cost nearly $11 billion over the next 5 years.

Keep reading on DefenseOne.