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Home / Science / Congress is not interested in a space force. So what about a space coastguard?

Congress is not interested in a space force. So what about a space coastguard?



This week Congress conceded a blow to President Donald Trump's idea for a space force and granted only $ 15 million to finance the operation. Critics of Congress are of the opinion that the government has not been good enough for a new form of military service. However, with both the public and civil space sectors heading for more ambitious, even interplanetary plans, a space version of the Coast Guard could prove more useful.

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The US space forces were first mentioned in March 2018 by the president Donald Trump. Trump, who admitted at the time that the idea started as a joke, told an audience of service members, "We may even have a Space Force, develop another, Space Force. We have the Air Force, we will have the space forces. "

Okay, a February 2019 document describes slightly better the roles and responsibilities of a Pentagon space arm, stating," The Defense Department must be prepared to ensure freedom of space deployment, ward off attacks and, if necessary, "The Department of Defense called for $ 72 million to defend the Space Force in fiscal 2020. "

A Jayhawk Coast Guard helicopter in a search and rescue exercise. [19659010] Photo: US Coast Guard Photo by Seaman Brendan Stainfield (DVIDS)

The Congress was enthusiastic about the Space Force, to say the least, lukewarm, with the big question of whether a military weapon devoted entirely to space would be a worthwhile improvement the division of space missions into existing forces.

The Re The House of Representatives responded to the Defense Department's funding request by approving only $ 15 million, stating that it was not designed to create a space force. In addition, as Defense News reports, the head of the House Armed Services Committee has stated that his Space Force proposal "will be different than the White House".

A Hercules of US Coast Guard HC-130 in St. Paul, Alaska.
Photo: US Coast Guard photo by Lauren Dean (Petty Officer, 3rd grade, DVIDS) Is a Space Force something we now have to spend money on? If we want to build a space force, perhaps a purely defense-oriented force is not exactly what we need, at least for now. Maybe we need a cosmic version of the Coast Guard.

The United States Coast Guard was founded in 1790 as a law enforcement agency to combat smuggling under the supervision of the Ministry of Finance. The Coast Guard is part of the Department of Homeland Security and has consisted since September 11 of 87,000 men and women stationed around the world. Over the last two centuries, the Coast Guard mission has shifted to focus on port and waterway safety, providing navigation, search and rescue, maritime safety and law enforcement support. (We should add that the Coast Guard also has its own problems with being underfunded.)

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Now take this mission set and imagine it in outer space. Orbits, such as the Earth's orbit and other locations, are the "harbors and waterways" of space and are often threatened by space debris, radiation-emitting solar flares, and other natural and man-made threats. When people are more likely to invade space, eventually a poor astronaut, cosmonaut, or taikonaut will be in trouble, and search and rescue in space will be a necessity.

Space is extremely dangerous. To build confidence in space security, the US needs a government agency that sets the rules for space security and investigates serious accidents.

Although Senator Ted Cruz's concern over "space pirates" is a step too far at this time, we will eventually need a law enforcement agency to operate in space.

A Coast Guard conducts a search and rescue exercise on the Elizabeth River near Norfolk, Virginia. Someday someone will have to do this in space.
Image: Trey Clifton Coast Guard Auxiliary (DVIDS)

In contrast to the Space Force, the US government and private industry could currently use a space watch. On Earth, commercial and recreational sailors can rely on the Coast Guard when they get into trouble. The US government has pledged to return to the moon by 2024, while SpaceX, Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic and other space plans have plans to bring people into space – but no one is in the depths of space when manned missions Need help .

A Space Guard could even be tasked with the ultimate mission: defending Earth against giant, civilizing asteroids, comets and other space objects.

A space guard and a space force are not mutually exclusive: America's needs for both a navy and a coastguard. There are justifications for both a space guard and a space force, and a space force is only a matter of time.

The question is, which ones do we need first? If Congress decides that we do not need any space forces, perhaps it should consider setting up a room guard.


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