Why a Space Force now?

President Donald Trump continues to insist the United States needs an entirely new branch of the military, a Space Force. It is worth asking what on earth — or off it — that would accomplish.

Trump seems to have watered his proposal down, just a bit. Now, he is willing to have the Space Force be linked to the Air Force, much as the Marines formally come under the Navy’s control.

But even that would require a whole new military bureaucracy of about 15,000 men and women, plus an unspecified number of civilians working in support. The Space Force would add at least $2 billion a year to the Pentagon budget.

For what? A new uniform, lots of new generals and more difficulty in coordinating military affairs, both during war and in peacetime?

Two billion dollars is a lot of money, even in Washington. Could the funds not be used better through either the Air Force or NASA?

Many in the military now have deep reservations about Trump’s idea. So do some in Congress. Before a dollar is authorized to establish the Space Force, questions such as those listed above need to be answered.

So do two more: If U.S. space programs, both for military and civilian purposes, are not being pursued adequately now, why? And, could not a general housecleaning within the Air Force and NASA improve the situation without spending $2 billion a year on a new military bureaucracy rather than on getting results?

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