If Congress gets its way, we could soon have space soldiers.
The House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee announced this week that it thinks our space defense capabilities are pathetic, so it set a vote for Thursday to create the U.S. Space Corps, a new military service designed to defend our interests in space.
“There is bipartisan acknowledgement that the strategic advantages we derive from our national security space systems are eroding,” the committee, chaired by Mike Rogers, an Alabama Republican, said in a statement. “For that reason, we must act now to fix national security [in] space and put in place a foundation for defending space as a critical element of national security.”
If the committee’s proposal makes it into the 2018 national defense budget, the Space Corps could be a legitimate, powerful force. The outer-space agency would exist under the umbrella of the U.S. Air Force but would be its own entity, like the National Guard or Secret Service, headed by its own chief, who would sit on the Joint Chiefs of Staff — the military body that gives guidance to the president.
As Earth’s orbit becomes packed with defense-related satellites — like the spy satellite recently launched by SpaceX — the subcommittee expressed concern that these unprotected satellites have become vulnerable to potential global opponents, or enemies. “The adversary will continue to build capabilities to hold our space assets at risk,” the committee said.
For a long while, of course, the U.S. Space Corps personnel will be stuck on Earth, directing our space defense from the ground. This includes using our sophisticated “eyes in space” to vigilantly watch for any ballistic missiles launched toward the United States, and to help shoot down any of these U.S.-bound threats.
After Thursday’s vote, the Space Corps bill would need to get a thumbs up from the Armed Services Committee before U.S. representatives are given the science fiction-like opportunity to discuss the merits of a space militia on the House floor. Senators would need to approve the bill, too, before it eventually lands on the president’s desk.
At present, it’s unclear how President Donald Trump feels about the potential of U.S. Storm Troopers.