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Trump Space Force Moves Forward

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US Space Force: Here's what we know (CNET News) President Trump has directed the creation of a Space Force, a new branch of the armed forces. Trump announces Space Force, America's military presence in ...
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Unless grassroots action somehow stops it, it looks likely that the Trump scheme for a Space Force, a sixth branch of United States armed forces, will happen. Both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate have passed a $738 billion military policy bill that gives Trump his sought-for Space Force as he moves for what he terms "American dominance in space."

In the House, the vote for what is titled the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2020 was 377 to 48. Some 189 Republicans and 188 Democrats voted for it. Six Republican House members voted no along with 41 Democrats and one independent.

This House vote on December 11 was reported to be a result of a trade-off for 12 weeks of paid parental leave for civilian federal employees. The New York Times' article said Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and advisor, was pivotal. "It was Mr. Kushner who helped broker a deal to create the Space Force, a chief priority of the president's, in exchange for the paid parental leave, a measure championed by his wife, Ivanka Trump, also a senior advisor to the president," said The Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/11/us/politics/house-ndaa-space-force-leave.html

The vote in the Senate on December 17 was 86 to 8. Some 48 Republicans and 37 Democrats and one independent voted for it. Four Republicans and four Democrats voted no.

Trump will sign the measure causing it to be enacted. Indeed, Trump tweeted after the House vote: "Wow! All our priorities have made it into the final NDAA: Pay Raises for our Troops, Rebuilding our Military, Paid Parental Leave, Border Security, and Space Force!" https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-signals-intent-to-sign-738-billion-national-defense-policy-bill/2019/12/11/50e6d994-1c3e-11ea-9ddd-3e0321c180e7_story.html

Establishment of a U.S. Space Force would come despite the landmark Outer Space Treaty of 1967, put together by the U.S., then Soviet Union and the U.K., designating space as a global commons to be used for peaceful purposes.

The U.S. move to negate the intent of the Outer Space Treaty will cause Russia and China to respond in kindespecially considering Trump's declaration that "it is not enough to merely have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space." This will lead to an arms race in space.

The Trump administration and the U.S. military have been claiming that a Space Force is necessary because of Russia and China moving into space militarily but, in fact, Russia and China and U.S. neighbor Canada have been leaders for decades in pushing for an expansion of the Outer Space Treaty. It bans weapons of mass destruction in space. The Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) treaty that the three nations have sought to expand would prohibit the placement of any weapons in space.

The U.S.under both Republican and Democratic presidential administrationshas opposed the PAROS treaty and effectively vetoed its enactment at the United Nations.

The leading organization internationally in opposing the plan for a U.S. Space Force has been the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space (www.space4peace.org).

Commenting on the NDAA passage after the House voted for it, Bruce Gagnon, the network's coordinator, said: "It is not surprise, but still disheartening, to see that 188 Democrats joined with Republicans to pass the NDAA bill in the House." He noted that "the Democrats were led by Rep. Adam Smith from the Seattle area which means that the aerospace giant Boeing Corp., which stands to make a gold mine off Space Force, clearly pulls Mr. Smith's chain."

(Smith, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, called the bill "the most progressive defense bill we have passed in decades.")

Gagnon continued: "Another Democrat, Rep. Jim Cooper from Tennessee chimed in saying, 'Trump's belated support for a Space Force does not make this a Republican idea.' Cooper chairs the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee and clearly is trying to stake out Democratic Party 'bragging rights' on passage of this proposal to move warfare into the heavens."

Gagnon said, "About three-dozen progressive and anti-war groups worked hard to stop this NDAA and called the Democrats support for it 'near complete capitulation.'"

After passage of NDAA in the Senate, Gagnon said "we have the full Congressional go-ahead to move the arms race into the heavensexpensive and provocative as it will be. The fact that the Democrats joined the Republicanslike they did in the House voteindicates to me that despite the Hollywood 'theatrics' of impeachment, we can clearly see that the aerospace industry has a firm hold on the levers of power in Washington."

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Karl Grossman is a professor of journalism at the State University of New York/College at Old Westbury and host of the nationally syndicated TV program Enviro Close-Up.
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