Trump eyes a space branch of military; is Star Wars 2.0 imminent?
Eyeing a lead in the outer world, US President Donald Trump on Monday, June 18, said he was seeking setting up of a new branch of the military to work on space, reports said.
Expressing his plans to have an independent "Space Force", Trump said it was not enough to have "merely" a presence in the space for the US but also to ensure that the Americans dominated it. He said this before a meeting of the National Space Council, a body within the executive office of the US President which was disbanded in 1993 but reinstated by Trump last year.
Envisioning a bright future for the US space programme, Trump sought steps like resending personnel to the moon and also landing a manned mission in Mars. He defined space as a part of the national security and cautioned that he did not want Russia and China taking a lead over the US in this matter.
It can be mentioned here that the race for space was an important component of the Cold War between the US and Russia in the past. Today, the Chinese have also shown considerable progress in space initiatives and perhaps that has left the Trump administration with the eagerness to do more.
The US is a member of the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 which prevents it from positioning weapons of mass destruction in the space and allows its use only for peaceful purposes. China and Russia have already expressed their disappointment over the 1967 treaty for they feel it is inadequate and sought a fresh agreement to ban weaponisation of the outer space.
Trump's latest plan will certainly alarm China
Trump's latest remarks that could spark a serious race are most likely to draw criticism from China. In December 2017, China warned against weaponisation of the outer space after Trump revealed his plan to
China asserted its long-standing position of preventing the weaponisation of outer space on Tuesday, a day after US President Donald Trump announced plans to renew manned missions to the moon and the Mars, sparking fears of a revival of the "Star Wars" programme.
Trump signed the "Space Policy Directive 1" to lay the foundation for future manned missions to the moon and the Red Planet months after China revealed its plan for achieving "robotic and human settlement" on Mars by 2020.
Criticism within US against Trump's plan
While there have been support in the US establishment for Trump's ambitious space plan, there are also opposing voices that feel that creating a separate space branch would harm the US Air Force which looks after most of the space-related military activity at the moment.
The critics are now banking on the Congress to stall the American president's space plans.