I don’t know about you, but every time I hear a politician or anyone else talk about President Donald Trump’s Space Force I immediately hear the opening to the original Voltron series.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation and Space, just made Space Force sound 10 times more awesome — and ridiculous — by discussing how the department could be used to stop pirates in space.
“Since the ancient Greeks first put to sea, nations have recognized the necessity of naval forces and maintaining a superior capability to protect waterborne travel and commerce from bad actors,” Cruz said during a hearing on Tuesday, as reported by The Hill.
“Pirates threaten the open seas, and the same is possible in space. In this same way, I believe we too must now recognize the necessity of a Space Force to defend the nation and to protect space commerce and civil space exploration,” Cruz added.
While this may seem like a joking matter, it really does show some foresight. Private companies are working to get to space, and once that happens, more possibilities for exploration and commerce may open up. The U.S. needs to protect itself.
On the other hand, the program is going to need $2 billion to get started, a Congressional Budget Office estimate found. Included in the price would be 5,400 to 7,800 new jobs and would cost the Pentagon $1 billion per year.
Trump announced his plans for Space Force last June, asking the Pentagon to create a sixth military branch, The Daily Wire previously reported.
“I am hereby directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a space force as the sixth branch of the armed forces,” Trump said in a meeting of the National Space Council.
“Our destiny beyond the Earth is not only a matter of national identity but a matter of national security,” he added.
In 2017, Congress authorized, as part of a Department of Defense expansion, the creation of the “space corps,” but didn’t exactly found the sixth military branch. As the Daily Wire’s Emily Zanotti previously reported:
Traditionally, control over space has been the purview of the United States Air Force, but Trump indicated in March that he believes the Space Force needs to be a different entity, even if that eventually renders the U.S. Air Force obsolete, particularly if space travel (and space war) involves large vessels manned with crews more akin to naval warfare. Trump failed to indicate how the mission of a space force would differ from that of NASA which, until now, has planned and coordinated all manned and unmanned spaceflight.
Since the announcement, Space Force has become somewhat of a meme, with T-shirts and even an upcoming Netflix comedy starring Steve Carell.
While we may be a long, long, way off from potential space pirates, Trump may be correct that we will someday need a Space Force. With the federal budget as bloated as it is already, however, maybe it’s best to wait on Space Force until the potential for space pirates actually looks possible.