President Donald Trump's proposal of a new U.S. military branch called the Space Force has drawn mixed reaction from elected officials and experts, but the head of America's space agency is on board. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine recently told Bloomberg that a space force would play a vital role in protecting Americans and American interests . Bridenstine called space "an international domain that has commerce that needs to be protected."
Other experts agree. "In order to preserve what's going on in the sea, air and land, we really need to have a clear eye on what happens in space," says Edward Turzanski, senior fellow at Foreign Policy Research Institute.
Turzanski tells KTRH that, in particular, much of our modern communications infrastructure is based in space, and thus potentially vulnerable to attack by a hostile power. "Our capabilities very much rest on the command and control capacities over satellites," he says. Turzanski shudders to think of an enemy taking out those satellites. "We would all become deaf, dumb and blind...without space-based communications systems, which are relayed from the ground up and back, exactly that would happen."
The bottom line, according to Turzanski, is President Trump is clearly on to something with the space force idea. "His administration is looking beyond the here and now, and contemplating what is the battlefield of the future, and what is the terrain where America has to maintain superiority," he says.
The Pentagon is now studying the viability of a space force and will report its findings to Congress soon.