Space Force cost would be astronomical

President Donald Trump continues to insist the United States needs an entirely new branch of the military, a Space Force. It is worth asking what on earth — or off it — that would accomplish.

Trump seems to have watered his proposal down just a bit. Now he is willing to have the Space Force be linked to the Air Force, much as the Marines formally come under the Navy’s control.

But even that would require a whole new military bureaucracy of about 15,000 men and women, plus an unspecified number of civilians working in support. The Space Force would add at least $2 billion a year to the Pentagon budget.

For what? A new uniform, lots of new generals and more difficulty in coordinating military affairs, both during war and in peacetime?

Two billion dollars is a lot of money, even in Washington.

Many in the military have deep reservations about Trump’s idea. So do some in Congress. Before a dollar is authorized to establish the Space Force, questions such as those listed above need to be answered.

So do two more: If U.S. space programs, both for military and civilian purposes, are not being pursued adequately now, why? And could restructuring within the Air Force and NASA improve the situation without spending $2 billion a year on a new military bureaucracy rather than on getting results?

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