Well, now it's official, President Trump has ordered the US military to create a sixth service branch, the Space Force, in addition to the Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Air Force, and Army, according to this story shared by Mr. H.B. and many others:
In doing so, Mr. Trump is, in one sense, rather late to the game, for Mr. Putin some time ago ordered Russia's air forces to be subsumed under its Space Command:
In March of this year, the President made clear the reasons for why he viewed this step - now taken - as being essential:
On March 13, the President told an audience of service members at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar that he suggested to his administration the addition of a space force offhandedly, but ultimately took the idea more seriously given the importance of national security.
“Space is a war-fighting domain, just like the land, air, and sea,” Trump told the crowd. “I said, ‘Maybe we need a new force, we’ll call it the Space Force,’ and I was not really serious. Then I said, ‘What a great idea,’ maybe we’ll have to do that,” the President said.
“So think of that, Space Force,” Trump continued. “Because we are spending a lot and we have a lot of private money coming in, tremendous. You saw what happened the other day, and tremendous success. From the very beginning, many of our astronauts have been soldiers and Airmen, Coast Guard men and Marines. And our service members will be vital to ensuring America continues to lead the way into the stars.”
I have pointed out many times, and for many years, that in spite of the best intentions of some, the weaponization of space will inevitably come simply due to the vast increase of financial and economic commitment in space on the part of all space powers, China, Russia, Japan, India, the USA and so on. Assets have to be protected, and that is the simple bottom line. It was Lyndon Johnson, when he was Senate Majority leader in the late 1950s, who made the observation that space is the new "high ground," and he who controlled it was in the dominant position. Space is the sea lanes of the present and future.
That much is obvious, so where is the high octane speculation? As one might have guessed by now, this week I have been blogging about some unusual stories, not the least of which was Turkish President Erdogan's strange announcement that Turkey was going to open a base in Antarctica. In doing so, he tweeted that Turkey would be joining a group of "victorious nations" on that continent, and as readers will recall, I took those words as indicative of something more than mere political and rhetorical hyperbole, but as indicative of a real conflict, with a real opposition. The question is, who's the opposition?
In this respect, I want to recall two other strange incidents from recent years, first, the Chelyabinsk meteor incident, and Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev's strange comments made to the Russian media approximately a month before the incident, and the strange case of Comet Ouanamoua. (Incidentally, while writing this blog, searches for Comet Ouanamoua on a variety of search engines turned up virtually no stories about this strange visitor of a few months ago. Indeed, one search on a well-known search engine showed returned no results as of this writing). In the case of the Chelyabinsk incident, Medvedev called for an international effort to erect an asteroid detection and planetary defense system, and that if Russia could not gain such a system, it would have to build out such a system on its own. When asked how Russia would defend itself against asteroids, Mr. Medvedev indicates that it could be done with rockets and hydrogen bombs, or "other means" at Russia's disposal. He left those "other means" conveniently undefined. A month later, the Chelyabinsk meteor incident occurred, and some video captures did show a suspicious "object" perhaps taking out the meteor. In the case of Ouananoua (Hawaiian for "messenger"), a very elongated object, cylindrical in nature, was approaching the solar system, was all the talk of the space internet community - including our colleague Richard C. Hoagland - and then the comet appeared to have been deflected, and interest suddenly died, but not before Mr. Hoagland pointed out that some infrared signatures appeared on the surface of the object as the event was taking place, leading him to speculate that perhaps a nuclear weapon had been fired at it, impacted, and diverted the object.
Oh, and let's not forget the strange video of STS 48, the infamous space shuttle mission from several years ago, showing a strange dance of UFOs in space, and something shooting at them.
So what does this mean? Where's the high octane speculation? My speculation is simple: that behind all the arguments being advanced by various people - including this author - that with the increased commercialization of space comes inevitably the increased militarization of it as assets need to be protected from potential enemies, there might be yet a deeper story, one hiding behind, and using the commercialization as a cover story for the need to protect commercial assets, and the planet itself, from something or someone else. And by "someone else" I don't mean the usual suspects: the USA, China, Russia, Japan, India, France, Germany &c....
Mr. Trump has thus, I believe, merely given us a "coming out party" as one regular reader here, Mr. M. L. put it to me - as did Mr. Putin before him - to something already happening and, in my estimation, long under way.
After all, a missing $50,000,000,000,000 will pay for a whole lot of "space force."
See you on the flip side...