Trump allows a space command. Then he wants a spatial force.



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WASHINGTON – President Trump on Thursday authorized the creation of US Space Command, citing the need for a centralized unit to protect US interests in what he called "the next battleground." He called the command precursor of space. Force, a sixth branch of the army that he promised to supporters at his rallies and that he wants the Congress to create.

"The Space Force will organize, train and equip warriors to support Spacecom's mission," Trump said at a Rose Garden ceremony authorizing command, saying it would affirm US dominance in the United States. "Space" because we know that the best way to prevent conflict is to prepare for victory. "

The idea of ​​setting up a unified command to coordinate the role of the army in space is not new – President Ronald Reagan created something similar, but it was dissolved after the attacks of 11 September 2001, when the fight against terrorism became the priority of the Pentagon.

Seventeen years later, the Pentagon has no doubt about the need to protect US interests against global competitors like Russia and China if they target space-based US technology, particularly satellites that guide the aircraft carriers in the sea of ​​North Arabia. and fighter planes over the Persian Gulf, which allow intelligence officers to gather information about adversaries.

"Space will be part of future conflicts on Earth, with space technology playing a vital role and space capabilities becoming more and more military targets," said Brian Weeden, former UN Force Nuclear and Space Operations Officer. aerial, now director of the program. planning at the Secure World Foundation in Washington.

Although it is generally accepted that threats exist, the way to confront them is debated.

In the past, the responsibility for space lay largely with the air force, and the president, named General, John Raymond, who led the unit at the head of the new Fighters Command, praised him as a "warrior" with "integrated space". strengthen our armed forces and pave the way for a new era. "

In the meantime, his name is quarreling.

"Democrats want" Corps "and GOP Todd Harrison, director of the Aerospace Security Project Center for Strategic and International Studies." They should just call it the space defense force. That would reassure allies about the fact that it is not an offensive military power or the destruction of other people's affairs in space, but to defend our national resources from space. "

But some of the president's allies would like the Trump administration to move quickly to establish a military presence in space. Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House of Representatives of the House of Commons, and a small but convinced group believe the Space Force should act aggressively to protect US interests by building military bases on the moon before its global competitors can not do it.

Proponents of a more aggressive approach lobbied for the Commander of the Space Force to be Lieutenant General Steven L. Kwast, an Air Force General who argued in talks that the United States is behind China for 30 years to set up a colony on the moon and publicly supported the Space Force when its Pentagon superiors opposed it.

Mr. Gingrich, for his part, has written a proposal to quickly provide resources to the Moon to establish a lunar base. This week, a White House official called Mr. Gingrich "a friend of the White House," but said he was not formally advising the White House on the exploration Space.

Critics worry about the consequences of an overly aggressive reaction. "We can build a force capable of going into space and fighting," said Laurie R. Blank, Emory University Space Law Expert, at the University of California. An interview. "But, in fact, we already have the capabilities – and we can continue to develop them – to do what we need to do and to counteract what our opponents do."

She added that analysts were worried about how US adversaries could behave in an unfamiliar environment, particularly as they sharpened their ability to disrupt satellite, communications and communications technologies. precision guided munitions.

"Two of our main opponents on the world stage, Russia and China, often have very different views on what international law means," Blank said. "What is its value and when should you follow it? And of course, these are the two biggest players in the United States in space. "

While expressing his enthusiasm for the Space Force, Mr. Trump Recently, he further defined his own goals, namely to push the United States to reach Mars, exactly as President John F. Kennedy paved the way for the moon. He generally spoke less about the need for a more robust military space defense instead of publicly questioning what explorers might discover if Americans had the opportunity to travel to another planet.

"For me, space is very important for defense," Trump said in a rally in the Oval Office in July to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. to take a long look at the benefits to humans of bypassing the fly directly on the red planet. On Independence Day, Trump told Americans gathered in the National Mall that "someday we will plant the American flag on Mars".

Mr. Gingrich said the president appreciated the idea of ​​"occupying the moon, developing the moon and continuing on Mars", perhaps starting with partnerships with Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin projects. and Space X of Elon Musk, projects run by two billionaires that Mr. Trump recently called "rich guys sending rockets".

"I think his interest starts with, if he is the president who brings us to the moon and to Mars, it will be historic as long as people write stories," said Mr. Gingrich. "Being the president who should allow human beings to leave the planet permanently would be a very big deal for many thousands of years."

In his first public appearance in front of reporters since his return from the Group of 7 summit in France on Monday, Trump seemed focused Thursday on the task at hand, even though he had spent the day on Twitter attacking the media. and James B. Comey. , the former FBI director who was criticized in a report by the Inspector General released earlier in the day for giving "a dangerous example" for officials with access to government secrets.

In the rose garden, Mr. Trump stood up and smiled when a space command flag was unfurled and set on the lawn.

"I think it's obvious to everyone," said Trump. "It's all about space."

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