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United States Space Force and the Future

What could this new military branch lead to?

By Chris Wilkinson Wed 25 Dec, 2019 10:37 PM
The United States Space Force (USSF), this isn’t something that you first expect to find within the United States Military. Especially as we’ve yet to develop an easy way to access space. The first thoughts of many I’m sure are something akin to the United Nations Navy from The Expanse. When you look at this new branch of the US military, you see that it isn’t as expansive as you would think as its mandate will primarily be the protection of the satellites used by the US and its allies for communication and surveillance.

This change now requires the US Air Force to look at the bases which deal with space primarily and work out what will need to be transferred over to this new service. This isn’t something that’s been done in at least 70 years since the USAF was branched off from the United States Army Air Force after World War 2. They will also need to man this new department so will be looking at the personnel who are currently serving in these roles and whether they want to transfer over. In the next 12-18 months, we’ll learn more as it’s worked out by the USSF.

However, could we be looking at the start of something more important in the years going forward as would hope that I’m not the only person hoping that the USSF could be the precursor to another more planetary organisation which not only will work to monitor satellites but explore space itself.

We do have organisations like NASA which has the primary mandate for scientific exploration of space, the technology that we fundamentally use for reaching the great unknown, has barely changed in the past 60 years, if not gone backwards somewhat. This is because we had rockets then developed the reusable space shuttle, and now we’re back to rockets. Although SpaceX has worked hard to develop reusable rockets which is something that back during the Apollo program would have been unimaginable.

Looking forward, there are several technologies that are being researched to see whether they are a feasible alternative to chemical propellants such as Ion Drives which are used in small scale applications already, however they still require Xenon to be carried along with the spacecraft. However, the military has always been one of the biggest pioneers of technology as they usually work to make better weapons for war, but with a budget of 14.1 billion dollars in 2020 compared to Nasa’s 21.5 billion this year, they won’t be getting as big a slice of the pie, but this could grow as the total US military budget is 698.5 billion dollars for this year alone. A few great examples of military technology that spread to the civilian sector and revolutionised things are jet engines, GPS and nuclear technology.

If we’re lucky, we could be looking at an organisation that could feed into a future Starfleet, depending on how the next few years go for it. Once the USSF is fully established, the next steps they will take will be closely be watched by many to see whether their mandate will remain as it is, or whether it will grow to actually put troops into orbit, although more powerful weapons such as WMD’s or bases on the moon would require the breaking of the Outer Space Treaty. These two items especially could change the way the entire world views outer space and what we do with it. Will we keep space a peaceful area, for scientific exploration or will we wage war in a new theatre as the air was back in World War 1? That's the main question we need to look at in the coming decades.

What did you think of this article? Are you excited by the idea of this and what potential it could have? Do you think we could see something similar to Starfleet one day? Let us know!

On behalf of FNS, we hope everybody is having a terrific Christmas and that you enjoy this special article on Christmas Day!

WRITTEN BY Chris Wilkinson
EDITED BY Infinity
Wed 25 Dec, 2019 10:38 PM
Was a good read Big Grin
Thu 16 Jan, 2020 6:10 PM
To me, this is hardly the beginning of Starfleet and more like the beginning of WW3. Basically, creating a military branch that specifically deals with space is stating your intention to officially "weaponize" space, which seems like it would turn it into a battlefield instead of a neutral zone. I think it's a bad idea.

Nasa is the agency that could grow into a Starfleet - most of the astronauts are military personnel anyway, or have been military personnel. But it's the "force" in Space Force that's the problem. It seems like it would create a space race, and you know how space races go....