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Military Space Force

Topics Covered:

  1. Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.


Military Space Force


What to study?

  • For Prelims: Space force- composition and functions.
  • For Mains: Space force- the idea, concerns, challenges and the need for free outer- space.


Context: President Trump has signed a directive- Space Policy Directive-4 (SPD-4)- to create a Military Space Force.

  • Accordingly, the Pentagon will establish the Space Force as the sixth branch of the United States military, to go along with the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.
  • However, the challenge ahead is that the Congress must approve the creation of any new military branch.


About US Military Space Force:

The main goal of the Space Force is to secure and extend American dominance of the space domain.

  • The Space Force would initially reside within the Department of the Air Force, much as the Marine Corps is part of the U.S. Navy.
  • S. Space Force will organize, train, and equip military space forces. Eventually, the aim is to push the Space Force out from under the Air Force’s wings and make it a stand-alone organization.


Why it is not a “good idea”?

  • Another military arm would only compound the organisational challenges facing the U.S. armed services.
  • It could undercut ongoing missions.
  • It could very well increase budgetary allocations in the future.
  • A space corps could undermine American efforts in the domain of joint warfare.


Why it may not feasible to have a space force?

  • The fundamental difficulty of a space corps is that the physical environment of space is not conducive to the conduct of military operations without incurring serious losses in the form of spacecraft and debris. And despite efforts to make spacecraft more fuel efficient, the energy requirements are enormous.
  • The technical demands of defending assets in space make the possibility of dominance and space as a domain for war-fighting a sort of chimera.


Challenges ahead:

A new space force is not merely a brand new service; it potentially increases greater organisational uncertainty within the U.S. military. Notwithstanding these concerns, Washington’s headlong rush is the by-product of a strong commitment to preserving American advantages in space.


Why space has become so important?

  • Space is a “war-fighting domain” and global powers like Russia and China are already treating it as such.
  • Besides, the stakes are high. Much of our 21st-century economy and lifestyle — from bank transactions to weather forecasting to television service to the GPS directions — depends on satellites functioning round the clock and without interruption. The military depends on them too.
  • In 2007, China shot down one of its own satellites — mission accomplished in its own right, it also littered orbit with potentially destructive space debris. Many saw the operation as a veiled display of military power.


Facts for Prelims:

As its name suggests, SPD-4 is President Trump’s fourth space policy directive. The first SPD directed NASA to get humans back to the moon as a stepping-stone to Mars. The second streamlined regulations for the commercial space sector, and the third dealt with management of space traffic.


Sources: the hindu.

Mains Question: Critically analyze the implications of space weaponization programme of US, especially in the context of India.