President Donald Trump ordered the Pentagon on June 18th to formulate a separate and the sixth wing of the military that will focus on the security of space. The President was somewhat right. There is a need for a space force. Space that stands critical for nation’s defense, and wing of the military that speaks for its importance, defends its land against all comers and above all – advocates itself for new missions and responsibilities.
Space has always been too critical to any nation’s security, that’s what can be stalled by the lack of focus and the unwillingness to react until pushed. Out of a corset of people who have worked on the issue for long, the announcement by the President was greeted with mixed reactions alike – humor of the star wars, political derision and as sarcasm. And above all, the results revealed a series of misconceptions and misunderstandings that what would a Space Force do and say, what it would look like? The most common critique amongst all speculations was that the President announced the sudden militarization of space. But he hadn’t. It was a process that was initiated decades ago with President Eisenhower.
As per 1958, National Aeronautics and Space Act, President Eisenhower and the then Congress formulated NASA to keep control of all U.S. space activities except the ones that are peculiar and or primarily associated with developments of weapons, space operations by the military or associated with the defense of the U.S.
The job of the military was then handed to DOD (Department of Defence), and in the same year, the DOD formed the ARPA, the then Defence ARPA or the DARPA as of now, Advanced Research Projects Agency, to prevent certain kinds of technological advancements that were represented by Sputnik. ARPA very soon went on to become the leader of all space military activities, while the actual work took place within the Army, Navy and the Air Force. It was just that ARPA guided it all and by the next decade, it was all military missions that are done today was created and tested.
Well, in the real sense, a lot of these missions never appeared as military weapons, they were quickly taken as an integral part of how the U.S. use to plan to execute ear, and specifically nuclear war. It was in the nation’s space policy, and also the first, Eisenhower envisioned in the National Security Council Planning Board memo 5814, that the practical usage of outer space, is going to enhance that nations military capabilities.