Speaking to military men and women at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, California, Tuesday, March 13, 2018, President Donald Trump announced to the men and women present, things were going to change, and they would be changing quickly.
As he spoke, the president emphasized his belief in world peace through strength, and promised the largest pay raise in over a decade for members of the armed forces. He said the 2019 military budget would reflect the biggest buildup since Ronald Reagan, and one of the largest buildups in the history of the United States. President Trump stated the proposed military budget would be $716 billion in 2019, and was quoted as saying that, “We are investing in the greatest weapon, the most beautiful weapon. Our most brilliant weapon — you.”
President Trump’s next announcement introduced his new National Space Strategy. He said we would soon be going to Mars, and that Space is a war-fighting domain. As the US has military for the land, sea, and air, he envisions a United States Space Force.
The president stated our astronauts historically have been drawn from the military, and he believes service members will be vital to ensuring America continues to lead its way into the stars.
Today, June 18, 2018, President Trump announced, while speaking at the National Space Council meeting held at the White House, he was directing the Department of Defense to immediately begin the process of establishing a sixth branch of the armed forces, the Space Force. He believes this is necessary to have an American dominance in space.
Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Alabama, has stated the US, as a nation, has vulnerabilities to Russia and China, and he would like for the American people to know more, but he would be leaking classified information, so he is unable to say more. But he did add we were in a very bad situation.
There are many issues which must be addressed before the US actually sees a Space Force in uniform. And one that many people have forgotten, or are ignoring, is the Outer Space Treaty. It was opened for signature in the US, UK, and Soviet Union on January 27, 1967; and subsequently entered into force on October 10, 1967. As of 2017, 107 countries have signed the treaty, while an additional 23 have signed, but ratification has not been completed.
In this treaty, what one may or may not do in outer space is clearly delineated. Some of the agreed upon limitations are: No one is allowed to place nukes in orbit, on the Moon, or any celestial body; no war games; no military installations, and no weapons testing sites are allowed.
One thing to keep in mind, as plans for a Space Force materialize, is the Outer Space Treaty is not an agreement that binds a signatory forever. If countries currently involved in the revived space race have intentions outside the mutually agreed upon peaceful use of space, there is a way out.
Article XVI of the treaty reads:
Any State Party to the Treaty may give notice of its withdrawal from the Treaty one year after its entry into force by written notification to the Depositary Governments. Such withdrawal shall take effect one year from the date of receipt of this notification.
This is the beginning of a new thing, and there is much to monitor as the Space Force takes shape. The whole world, and perhaps Universe, will be closely watching as its goals, intentions, and behavior up in space are made manifest.