The New Space Race: US Plans to Create Space Corps Military Branch
The United States Department of Defense has approved a nearly trillion dollar budget for the year 2018. Yes, trillion (824.7 billion). It’s a pretty significant increase because Congress is preparing to create a 6th military branch: the Space Corps. So get ready, because a new space race is on its way. And it sounds pretty terrifying.
If approved by Congress this will be the first new military branch since creation of the Air Force in 1947. So it’s been a while. But we already have the largest military in the world with bases in over 100 countries. We already spend more on our military than the next 9 countries combined. Nevertheless, the powers-that-be have established a pretty huge goal on a new frontier: space.
This new branch will take over duties previously held by the Air Force Space Command. The Air Force isn’t too happy about this, claiming the new branch just creates more bureaucracy. But Congress says a new branch is needed to better develop new technologies and advance more quickly. The proposal has bipartisan support in Congress.
The New Space Race
So… why? Well for one thing we’re entering a new space race. But this time we have two competitors: Russia and China. And the US government considers both countries to be legitimate threats to national security in space (and obviously on the ground, too). Like I’ve written about for SocialUnderground before, any conflict on the ground will eventually be pushed into space if the material conditions provide for it.
Following the death of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal and the Paris Climate Agreement, China has stepped-up to fill the gap left by the US market. So in an attempt to get leverage elsewhere (like space) we get the Space Corps.
Also unlike last time, the US now needs to compete for the best and brightest talent and their capital. Elon Musk has already expressed interest in working with China on automotive projects. Why wouldn’t he cooperate with them for space developments? How could the US secure their dominance in space? They basically have to create the Space Corps– at least from their perspective.
But this could also have a lot to do with US sanctions against Russia too. The US relies on Russia for more than they’d like to admit. In fact Boeing recently developed a new rocket engine for the Pentagon. Why? The previous engine, the RD-180, is made in Russia. And due to new sanctions, US companies won’t be able to purchase them after 2022.
This probably isn’t the only equipment or technology US space companies purchase from Russia– just the only one we know of. I mean, tons of US companies use the Russia-based cyber security software Kaspersky. But if US officials keep going down the Russia-phobic path, the software could be banned or sanctions could be applied.
But What Will They Do Up There?
US officials support the idea of creating “defense” satellites that can “shoot” down threats. So that’s a huge possibility. But more recently, US lawmakers started expressing an interest in creating a ballistic missile-tracking system in space. Basically it would monitor the entire world and create real-time GPS observation of every military action everywhere on the entire planet. So they’ll literally be watching everyone– everywhere– all the f*cking time.
The legislation is currently floating through Congress. But like usual, war and “defense” always has bipartisan support. Especially when the “enemy” in question is Russia or China. “I’m not saying that space isn’t without its flaws,” US General Ronald Buckley said at a missile defense conference earlier this year. “But I believe it’s time we take a hard look at space as an option.”