Instead of Wasting Money on Trump’s Space Force, Let’s Reinvigorate NASA

By now most American readers are probably aware of Vice President Mike Pence’s announcement that the Trump administration will be establishing a new military branch: the United States Space Force. Since President Trump publicly floated the idea earlier this year, the notion has been met with derision and mockery — and for good reason.

This week the president signed off on an enormous $717 billion defense budget, but before doing so he tried to justify his push to create the Space Force by explaining that countries like China have already taken similar steps.

Among the various glaring flaws with this plan is the fact that the United States already has a military branch that covers space — the U.S. Air Force, which has a dedicated department called the U.S. Air Force Space Command. It already oversees space-based defense systems and includes the California-based Space and Missile Systems Center.

The White House’s plan, per Pence, would establish a separate institution, beginning with $8 billion in funding over five years. However, the Space Force would ultimately require far more Congress-approved funds.

Not only is a Space Force wholly unnecessary, but it would also consume much needed funding that would be better spent on the United States’ original space agency, NASA.

Here are a few reasons Trump and Pence should consider before they make the Space Force a reality.

NASA Produces Important Tech and Science Advancements

It’s difficult to understate the contributions space travel has contributed to what many of us take for granted on a daily basis. In fact, you’ve almost certainly used a NASA invention today — perhaps even while reading this sentence.

Things including the computer mouse, miniaturized cameras — now used in mobile phones — sports shoes, water purifiers, modern home insulation and even baby formula sprung into common use after NASA scientists had to solve novel problems presented by space exploration.

NASA Encourages Global Cooperation and Promotes Peace

Though NASA was once limited in its role during the Cold War-era Space Race, the agency — along with various international counterparts, such as the European Space Agency and Russia’s Roscosmos –  is characterized by cooperative efforts that span the globe.

And as the name suggests, the International Space Station is the ultimate achievement of such cooperation. While the ISS has certainly been a boon for scientific advancement, it also stands as a supreme example of global teamwork. Currently the ISS has had visitors from 18 different countries.

NASA Promotes Optimism and Hope For the Future

Remember when you were young and adults would ask “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Some children responded with “fireman” or “doctor,” but plenty — boys and girls alike — also answered astronaut. Sure, not all of them grew up to join NASA, but space exploration has long been revered as a noble pursuit that’s stimulated the curiosity of multiple generations.

In this age of seemingly relentless pessimism, surely we would rather have future generations share in this hope and excitement about the possibilities of the future?

Take Action!

The White House places NASA’s budget for 2018 at $19.1 billion – only slightly more than double the initial annual funding for the proposed Space Force. Imagine if that $8 billion were instead poured into NASA and the International Space Station; wouldn’t that be a better path to encouraging international cooperation and peace than further militarizing space?

Sign this Care2 petition calling on the White House to reconsider these plans and demand NASA be reinvigorated instead!

Concerned about an issue? Want to raise awareness about an injustice? Join your fellow Care2 users by learning how to make your own petition and make your voice heard today!

 

Photo Credit: NASA / Wikimedia Commons

37 comments

Ann B
Ann B2 months ago

since we are NOT taking care of this planet why are we spending trillions on space BS..we could use ALL THAT MONEY for food animals homeless....sick---BETTER REASONS

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Margie FOURIE
Margie FOURIE2 months ago

Thank you

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Shirley S
Shirley S2 months ago

noted

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Mary B
Mary B2 months ago

I would much rather have this money go into higher wages, Medicare for all, the usual liberal stuff that works for people on the planet . Poor countries are not a waste of talent and resources.They are the future.

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Paul B
Paul B2 months ago

Did the author miss, not surprised, that Trump has already addressed this and is all in for expanding NASA with the assistance and partnerships with private companies. Musk, Branson, Amazon owner are all enthralled with space, so why not coop the assets at NASA to assist these guys from expanding our space exploration and whatever. We can do both at the same time, and Trump is leading the way after Obama all but wanted NASA shut-down, or repurposed for NON_SPACE type stuff. I think he wanted to use NASA as an outreach program to poor countries. What a waste of talent and resources.

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Alea C
Alea C2 months ago

I think the veterans should get the money as this country doesn't do squat for them. It's why homelessness and suicides are so rampant among returning vets.

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Winn A
Winn Adams2 months ago

tRUMP is a Cancer on America.

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Camilla Vaga
Camilla Vaga2 months ago

thx

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Leo C
Leo Custer2 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Stephen Brian
Stephen Brian2 months ago

There is a need for a separate branch for space, but not one that there should be: The branches of the U.S. military are big bureaucracies and, like in any big bureaucracy, leaders are often disconnected from the mission. The fiasco with the A-10 is a great example: The A-10 was relatively cheap, cheap to operate, and extremely effective in its mission of providing air support for operations on the ground. However, despite existing to support ground-operations, it was handled by the USAF rather than the Army. Seeking their own wins and accomplishments to which they could lay claim, leadership in the USAF minimized deployment of, and eventually scrapped, the A-10, opting instead to use only much more expensive aircraft which lacked either the payload or low-altitude loitering-time of the A-10, but which could also be used for other, USAF-led, missions.

The USAF Space Command faces a similar problem: The USAF generals want big visible wins, and the Space Command, as important as it is, has never really provided those. I'll give you three guesses as to whether it gets the support it needs. More importantly, I'll give three guesses whether it will get the support it needs before space becomes a big flashy battleground capable to providing those wins or losses as long as it remains a part of the U.S. Air Force.

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