Battle of the Binary Stars ('Star Trek: Discovery')

Cosmic warfare might not be something limited to the silver screen and video games.

On Friday, February 23, United States Air Force Chief of Staff General David L. Goldfein stated that military combat in space is inevitable. During the Air Force Association’s 34th annual Air Warfare Symposium and Technology Exposition in Orlando, Florida, Goldfein predicted that American forces will be “fighting from space” in only “a matter of years.”

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The concept is horrifying, but it isn’t exactly new. In a 1983 speech President Ronald Reagan proposed a Strategic Defense Initiative Organization, which was later nicknamed “Star Wars.” The idea was to build a system of ground and space-based systems that would shield the country from incoming nuclear missiles and shoot down enemy warheads using lasers. This proved to be absolutely impossible for the time period and never came to fruition.

More recently, U.S. government officials have been interested in bolstering their military presence in space. Back in June 2017 Congress proposed a sixth branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, dubbed the “Space Corps.”

Unfortunately this didn’t bode well for many military officials, including Goldfein, who claimed adding a new branch would simply result in more, unnecessary bureaucracy.

Imperial Stormtroopers

While Goldfein might have disagreed with the creation of the Space Corps, his comments on Friday seem to suggest he believes the Air Force should ramp up its space warfare technology and tactics.

“We are the service that must lead joint war fighting in this new contested domain,” stated Goldfein, as he addressed a crowd of active-duty troops. “This is what the nation demands.”

Goldfein stated that the Air Force already handles “90 percent” of the country’s space operations in February 2017.

While it’s unclear how exactly the Chief of Staff is planning on improving the Air Force’s space capabilities it seems he might want to divert some resources going into regular air operations to improving space operations.

“[It’s] time for us as a service, regardless of specialty badge, to embrace space superiority with the same passion and sense of ownership as we apply to air superiority today,” he said.

The future — or at the very least, this one — sounds scary.

Photos via GIPHY, CBS