Space really has become the final frontier for US President Donald Trump.
In a short speech announcing the formation of a US Space Command, Trump revealed America’s armed forces fear an attack from above.
But not from aliens or stray objects, but from Russia and China trying to steal a march on space technology to threaten the US with satellites and missiles orbiting the Earth.
“It’s a big deal,” Trump told his gathering in The White House rose garden, “Space is the next warfighting domain. And I think that’s obvious to everybody.
“The dangers to our country constantly evolve and so must we. Now, those who wish to harm the United States – to seek to challenge us in the ultimate high ground of space. It’s going to be a whole different ballgame.”
Command and control mission
Space Command – or SpaceCom – he said, is tasked with providing communications and navigation for troops on the ground; giving early warning alerts of missile launches and building cyber defences to disable Chinese and Russian space technology.
“SpaceCom will soon be followed, very importantly, by the establishment of the United States space force as the sixth branch of the United States armed forces. And that’s really something when you think about it. The space force will organise, train and equip SpaceCom’s mission,” said Trump.
“SpaceCom will ensure that America’s dominance in space is never questioned and never threatened, because we know the best way to prevent conflict is to prepare for victory.”
Worrying words for the world, but this is not the first US military foray into space.
Scaremongering in the US
President Ronald Reagan famously ordered a Strategic Defense Initiative, better known as ‘star wars’, a network of satellites armed with lasers that never quite took off.
As recently as 2017, there appeared to be no known orbiting space weapons. Nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction are banned in space by international treaty, but several countries have tested conventional firearms and lasers in orbit.
Many regard the SpaceCom announcement as scaremongering to give an excuse to divert billions of dollars into space-related defence projects for the US.
The worry for governments without the financial and technology capabilities of major powers is what is going on above their heads and out of their control?