President Trump’s brain genius decision in March to create the Space Force, the first new branch of the U.S. military in over seven decades, did not go over well with the top generals and admirals in the Pentagon who are in the midst of making cuts and consolidating the monstrously bloated and oversaturated military to make it more efficient.
Frustrated that his absurd idea wasn’t taken seriously, Trump went ahead and issued a space policy directive anyway during the third National Space Council meeting four days ago, blindsiding both the military officials as well as aerospace industry executives and Congress.
Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and other senior Air Force commanders had no idea Trump’s announcement was coming when they met for a strategy session last week, according to The Wall St. Journal.
Heather Wilson, Air Force Secretary, had no idea SPACE FORCE branch was coming.
All these mainstream pols who take admin gigs – Wilson was a longtime House member – have basically consented to get a nice, resume-spiffing gig in exchange for, well, thishttps://t.co/rjjnLJ3GbQ
— Jonathan Martin (@jmartNYT) June 22, 2018
Trump brought up the idea at first in March at a meeting almost as a joke but the more he thought about it, the more he liked the idea.
He shared his idea in May while making a speech during the celebration of the West Point football team.
Trump told the cadets that a Space Force would make sense because the U.S. is “getting very big in space both militarily and for other reasons.”
He ran into a wall of resistance from the Pentagon and in Congress.
Defense Secretary James Mattis had said last October in a letter to the Senate Armed Services Committee that a new military service focused on space would add “additional organizational layers at a time when we are focused on reducing overhead and integrating join war-fighting functions.”
The Air Force has been adamantly opposed to creating the first new branch since the Air Force itself was created in 1947, as General John Hyten told the Senate Armed Services Committee in March.
“I think that someday we’ll have a space corps or Space Force in this country,” said Hyten, “but I don’t think the time is right for that right now.”
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), ranking member on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, has been telling Trump for months that the Pentagon does not want a new branch focused on space and is now is threatening to block it.
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
There is also the matter of the Outer Space Treaty, signed in 1967, that bars countries from testing weapons and establishing military bases on the moon and other celestial bodies.
The international treaty also prohibits putting major weapons in orbit around Earth but obviously does not have any real enforcement mechanism.
That is a problem because his recent actions suggest Trump doesn’t care about breaking promises made by other presidents in past years with America’s international allies – or with spending enormous amounts of money on pointless vanity projects.
Mattis, after he got over his surprise, said he would do the president’s bidding but warned that it would require Congressional approval and funding, which even with a Republican majority would appear to be – as Nelson warns – a difficult task.
So Trump’s Star Wars fantasy may turned out to be yet another one of his “big” ideas that he announces, like repairing the nation’s infrastructure, which goes nowhere because he has not laid the groundwork with a sensible plan and gotten all of the stakeholders involved on board in advance.
Like so much of the ideas Trump proposes, the Space Force looks like it will never get off the ground.
Reagan had the Star Wars program, Gingrich and his moon base, and now Trump wants a Space Force. Why is that Republicans are obsessed with these wacky ideas in space?
But yea Democrats are the crazy ones with their clean energy initiatives and electric vehicles. pic.twitter.com/Cv0MDeLVEo
— Steve Westly (@SteveWestly) June 22, 2018