Nobody who understands space or the military wants Trump's 'space force' — but he is pushing to waste nearly $14 billion on the idea every year.
The Trump administration is trying to ensure that Trump's widely ridiculed "space force" obsession will cost American taxpayers nearly $14 billion a year.
The so-called "space force" will have "a budget the size of SOCOM," said Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan on Wednesday. SOCOM is the U.S. Special Operations Command, which has an annual budget of about $13.5 billion.
Shanahan recently announced the establishment of the Space Development Agency, which Space News noted "surprised many, even inside the Pentagon." As Space News explained: "The decision has not been well received by organizations in the Air Force that currently develop space systems such as the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center in Los Angeles, and the Air Force Space Rapid Capabilities Office, based at Kirtland Air Force, New Mexico."
Shanahan is now on Capitol Hill attempting to convince skeptical lawmakers to waste many times more than that on Trump's boondoggle, and it hasn't gone great.
It has been repeatedly pointed out to Trump that the military is already working in space (particularly in the Air Force) and that his applause line idea is an impractical approach that could disrupt existing operations.
"I would just urge you … to fully utilize the existing R&D assets as you stand up SDA so that we’re not losing a few years of reorganization to make the whole system work better," Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) told Shanahan in a Senate hearing.
It doesn't help Shanahan's cause that, even as he is working as the front man for "space force," he is also under investigation by the Pentagon. They are probing his role as a former Boeing executive and how he may be using his current position to promote his old company.
Trump's administration has been an ethical sewer of graft and corruption, from Trump himself all the way down to his Cabinet secretaries and other officials.
Aides to members of Congress have also been telling reporters that there are concerns about the size of Trump's proposal. At first, they said "space force" would have 15,000 people. Now Shanahan has increased the number to as many as 20,000 people.
They also are asking for at least two four-star generals to run the operation.
"Three more four-star generals are not going to make us stronger in space," said Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, at a March 13 conference.
Trump loves "space force," especially because his most rabid and devoted fans cheer so loudly for it. But Congress and the military are skeptical at best — and America might be on the hook for billions so Trump gets an applause line and hats he can sell.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.