Space Corps: An Expensive New Frontier For The Military Industrial Complex [Opinion]

There is currently a bipartisan effort underway by U.S. lawmakers to develop a fifth branch of the military called “Space Corps” devoted to defending United States technological and strategic interests beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. It’s hard not to see the whole thing as yet another ploy by the political henchmen of the military industrial complex to funnel more money from the government into the hands of defense contractors.

A story in Live Science reported that two ranking members of the House Armed Services Committee released a statement this past Thursday alleging that the Pentagon’s current approach to space militarization are putting the United States in jeopardy, thus requiring the aforementioned “Space Corps.”

“We are convinced that the Department of Defense is unable to take the measures necessary to address these challenges effectively and decisively, or even recognize the nature and scale of its problems,” said the statement by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), chair of the House Armed Services Subcommittee for Strategic Forces, and Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN), the subcommittee’s ranking member. “Thus, Congress has to step in.”

The proposal introduced by the House Armed Services Subcommittee for Strategic Forces involves adding language to the National Defense Authorization Act that would require the creation of a separate military branch prior to January 1, 2019, tentatively referred to as “Space Corps.”

And of course, this would all mean big money to defense contractors poised to benefit from the ability for the government to market the need for space battle funding to the American public. Currently, the United States Air Force is responsible for all military ventures and defense preparedness beyond the bounds of the Earth’s atmosphere. With space military expenditures tied into an exciting and new focus on space wars, a new frontier in military spending propaganda can be unleashed on the American public.

Of course, this is not to say that the government should ignore the potential for countries like China and Russia to threaten the strategical and technological interests of the United States in space. However, the Air Force is confident that it is fully capable of handling this task and that a special “Space Corps” will just lead to more bureaucracy and more waste at the Pentagon.

“The Pentagon is complicated enough,” said Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, a recent Donald Trump appointee. “We’re trying to simplify. This will make it more complex, add more boxes to the organization chart and cost more money. If I had more money, I would put it into lethality, not bureaucracy.”

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Not one to miss a beat, Rep. Mike Rogers responded about possible space threats from Russia and China.

“I’ve been shocked by the response from the Air Force leadership,” Rogers said. “Did they miss where the Chinese and the Russians have already reorganized space operations? The Chinese literally have a space force today. If she can’t implement this proposal without creating six new deputy chiefs of staff, that’s on her. Maybe we need a Space Corps secretary instead of an Air Force secretary leading space.”

According to Open Secrets, Rep. Mike Rogers received $181,450 from the defense industry for his 2016 campaign. This places him in the top 20 of all elected officials. With the very real possibility that a Space Corps is on the way, American taxpayers could be contributing to the creation of a Boeing version of the Millennium Falcon in the very near future, whether we need it or not.

military space corps
A "Space Corps" branch of the military could make it easier to convince the public of the need for space-based defense spending. [Image by 3000ad/Shutterstock]

[Featured Image by Fred Mantel/Shutterstock]