The Pentagon is seeking billions of dollars to fulfill Trump's 'space force' fantasy.
Trump is forcing the Pentagon to beg Congress for $2 billion to waste on his unwanted idea of creating a "space force." In a statement released on Friday, the Pentagon announced its request for $72 million next year for approximately 200 space force personnel and funding to find office space.
The $72 million is just the beginning, though. The Pentagon wants a total of $2 billion over the next five years to build up the sixth branch of the military, to "build a space warfighting culture."
At the same time Trump is demanding $2 billion for a project various Pentagon officials have said is an unnecessary waste of time and money, he is threatening to raid funds meant to build schools for the children of military families because of his fake national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The whole idea of a space force already received resistance from Democratic lawmakers. In September 2018, Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), who now chairs the House Armed Services Committee, opposed the creation of a space force because it would "create additional costly military bureaucracy."
Resistance is not coming only from Democrats. Last year, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told reporters that "the Pentagon is complicated enough" without the increased bureaucracy of a space force. She added that a new branch "will make it more complex, add more boxes to the organization chart and cost more money."
Even though Trump forced the Pentagon to make the multi-billion dollar request, he is not getting what he originally wanted. The original vision for space force was a "separate but equal" military branch, on par with the Army, Navy, and Air Force.
"We are going to have the Air Force and we are going to have the 'Space Force' — separate but equal, it is going to be something so important," Trump said last summer.
But support for Trump's grand vision failed to materialize, so a defeated Trump signed a presidential directive creating a space force, which will fall under the Air Force, not unlike the way the Marine Corps falls under the Navy. If Congress approves the idea, the United States will soon have a new space force chief of staff who would be a part of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in addition to an "Under Secretary of Space."
If Congress approves this idea, the Pentagon estimates taxpayers will be on the hook for $500 million every year to pay for it. The idea of the space force may be an applause line at Trump rallies, but the reality looks more like a multi-billion dollar unwanted boondoggle.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.