clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Trump wants a “space force.” We have many questions.

Here’s one: Does Trump want a Death Star?

President Donald Trump wants a space force. We have many questions about it. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

On Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence delivered a big speech unveiling the Defense Department’s official plan to effectively create a Space Force in all but name.

Pence and President Donald Trump’s argument for creating a Space Force boils down to this: Enemies like China and Russia have, for example, tested technology to shoot down satellites, and the US wants to ensure the US can adequately defend itself against growing threats.

“What was once peaceful and uncontested is now crowded and adversarial,” Pence said on Thursday at the Pentagon. “It’s not enough to merely have an American presence in space, we must have American dominance in space. And so we will.”

The problem is it’s totally unclear what a Space Force even is or what it might even look like. Let’s just say I have many questions.

  1. Can Trump unilaterally create a space force?
  2. ... Or does he need congressional authorization, as experts say?
  3. Will Trump ever wear a spacesuit?
  4. Would lawmakers approve a new space force?
  5. What will the military equipment look like? Rockets? Lightsabers?
  6. Who will pay for the space force?
  7. Did Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis know about Trump’s decision, even though he’s against a space force?
  8. Did the Air Force know about Trump’s decision, even though it’s against a space force?
  9. Will the training facilities for space force troops be called a “space camp”? Please let that be a thing.
  10. Can the US set up a base on the moon? Newt Gingrich promised one.
  11. What will the space force uniforms look like?
  12. Who will write the official space force song?
  13. What will a space force challenge coin look like?
  14. Where will the headquarters for the space force be?
  15. Did Trump get this idea from Star Wars, Star Trek, Starship Troopers, or some combination of the three?
  16. When will the US send its first space force member go to space?
  17. People who serve in the Army are soldiers. People who serve in the Navy are sailors. People who serve in the Marines are Marines. People who serve in the Air Force are airmen. But what will we call people who serve in the space force — space cadets?
  18. Will troops in the new service wear space helmets?
  19. Will there be a separate department for the space force, or will it fall under another service (like how the Marine Corps falls under the Department of the Navy)?
  20. Trump has yet to visit American troops in Iraq or Afghanistan. Will he visit troops in space?
  21. How will the space force interact with NASA?
  22. Whom should I call to answer all my questions? Seriously: The Pentagon and Air Force are barely answering any questions.
  23. What should we call the military official in charge of the space force? The Space Commander? Master Space? Supreme Space Leader? Darth Commander? Master Jedi? El Jefe del Espacio?
  24. What will be the first space force acquisition project to go completely over budget and take forever to be used? My guess is an X-wing-style fighter.
  25. Does Trump want a Death Star? He totally wants a Death Star. You know he does.

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.