The problem: U.S. military for almost everything depends on satellites – surveillance, intelligence, communications, and navigation and even for the correct and accurate guidance of its weapons (making smart bombs smarter with intelligent GPS satellites). In spite of all these, the satellites are susceptible to attacks and disruptions.
The decision to create the sixth branch of the U.S. military – the Space Force by president Donald Trump, like the Air Force, as he had announced in his speech this Monday, is not as instrumental as it may sound, instead is a wrong solution for a real problem.
The problem became evident when in 2007, China had its first anti-satellite test and destroyed one of its orbiting satellite by a weapon launched with a rocket. Many alarmed the situation, but in Washington, no one did anything about the same.
President Obama in 2011, alerted on the problem and quietly made some decisions which involved promotions, procedures, and deployments of new devices and sensors in space, all highly classified, which began addressing the issues. In the meanwhile, since then, China and many other countries have established their capabilities with advanced and cyber weapons, against satellites and as well against ground stations that transmit and receives data from the spacecraft.
The fact is that it is not true that the military was not aware of the situation or unequipped to handle them. Perhaps the Air Force Space Command, with its headquarters in Colorado Springs and founded in 1982, has almost 36,000 personnel working with it and a budget of $8.5 billion. The NRO (National Reconnaissance Office), is a highly secret branch of the U.S. intelligence founded in 1961, has an estimated budget of $15 billion.
You might think that the heads and directors of these organizations have their interest in protecting their highly expensive satellites, but actually, they are not. It was this negligence that led or well can be said prompted Trump to formulate an autonomous Space Force. The main idea behind it is not to be stacked with and do usual reporting to the Air Force officers, but most of the fighter pilots with the drive of offensive combat operations, the specialized Space Force would be responsible towards the properties, needs, and vulnerabilities of the satellites and the various systems associated to them.
It’s not clear what the Space Force would be doing. It’s long before that the National Security Act of 1947, which laid out distinct roles and responsibilities of each section of the U.S. armed forces – the basic functionalities of the Army, Navy, and Marines have well been formulated. It has been a decade since China had its first anti-satellite test, and the U.S. has not still yet declared any policy in determining and fighting any such kind of conflict. It means that it has never been vigorously addressed that what should be done in the event of an attack on the vital satellites nor has visibly created any means to carry out any such response.