Space Force is misguided idea; Congress should turn it down

With the Trump administration and thus the Pentagon now firmly behind it, and with Americans naturally predisposed to new high-tech frontiers, the proposal to create a Space Force within the U.S. military now has lots of momentum.

But Congress, which must approve the plan before the new military service is created, should say no to this alluring, misguided idea.

Some of the arguments against a Space Force, which would be bureaucratically positioned within the Department of the Air Force, just as the Marine Corps is technically part of the Department of the Navy, are mundane and largely about economics and efficiency. Others are more conceptual and strategic. Together, they add up to a strong case for skepticism.

First, the Space Force would be not just small relative to any other service but tiny. It would consist of perhaps 15,000 to 20,000 personnel, including civilians. By contrast, the Marine Corps, far and away the smallest of military services, has about 185,000 active-duty Marines.

Because a stand-alone military service, even if within the Air Force, will need its own hierarchy, doctrine, schools, uniforms and everything else under the sun that goes with a standalone organization - including, perhaps, marching bands - we will spend lots of time in the early years simply building it, at a cost the Pentagon estimates at $2 billion over five years (which seems a lowball estimate).


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