American Legion: Now we are six
Back in 1962, our then President, John F. Kennedy wanted America to have a position of pre-eminence insuring freedom of action in outer space. He felt there was a hostile misuse of it by our adversaries. President Reagan, during his term of office, declared the U.S. would oppose prohibitions on the military or intelligence use of space. President Clinton instructed the Pentagon to operate , develop & maintain space control capabilities in 1996 and if directed, deny freedom of action to adversaries.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who had been appointed by congress in 2001 and headed the Pentagon under Presidents Ford & George W. Bush, foresaw the establishment of a Space Corps within the Air Force to prevent us having an outer space Pearl Harbor. President Trump urged the Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary for establishing a Space Force as the 6th branch of the United States Armed Forces.
The media, as they often do, dismissed the idea as being ridiculous while some dismissed the idea as being a “space farce”. The Netflix network announced a comedy series which mocked the notion of a new branch which would defend satellites from attack, or something. But, Congress and President Trump, agreed to create the new branch, which is the first one created since the Air Force separated from the Army in 1947.
Creating a sixth branch of our military makes sense, seeing as how there is no soldier, sailor, airman, or marine anywhere in the world who does not critically depend on the information which is transmitted to them from and by space. Every branch of our military is dependent on space, not just airmen and astronauts.
In 2019, a government report notes that Beijing views space as a critical U.S. Military and economic vulnerability. The Pentagon also reports China has the world’s most rapidly maturing space program and is working on developing doctrines which are geared toward damaging and interfering with enemy reconnaissance along with communications satellites. China is also acquiring technologies to accelerate counter space capabilities as well as satellite jammers and anti satellite weaponry.
Our newest branch is modeled on the tight knit relationship of the Navy-Marine Corps rather than the Army-Air Force split which occurred following World War II. They work under the authority, control & direction of the secretary of the Air Force. Last spring, 86 Air Force graduates commissioned into the newly formed military branch. Here at the American Legion, we are proud and happy to welcome the Sixth U. S. Military branch members to our organization. To them, as we do to all veterans, we say “Live Long and Prosper”!