This week, a group of five Democrat lawmakers introduced a bill in the House of Representatives that would abolish the U.S. Space Force after just two years in operation.
The bill, titled the “No Militarization of Space Act” was introduced on Wednesday by Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) and was co-sponsored by Reps. Mark Pocan (D-WI), Jesús García (D-IL), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Maxine Waters (D-CA). The bill has the stated purpose “to abolish the Space Force as an Armed Force.”
“The long-standing neutrality of space has fostered a competitive, non-militarized age of exploration every nation and generation has valued since the first days of space travel,” Huffman wrote in a statement announcing his bill. “But since its creation under the former Trump administration, the Space Force has threatened longstanding peace and flagrantly wasted billions of taxpayer dollars.”
Huffman said, “It’s time we turn our attention back to where it belongs: addressing urgent domestic and international priorities like battling COVID-19, climate change, and growing economic inequality. Our mission must be to support the American people, not spend billions on the militarization of space.”
The Space Force was established as the newest branch of the U.S. military on December 20, 2019. President Donald Trump began calling for the creation of the Space Force in 2018 and the new military branch received its initial funding through the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
The branch’s stated mission is to serve as a branch “that organizes, trains, and equips space forces in order to protect U.S. and allied interests in space and to provide space capabilities to the joint force. USSF responsibilities include developing Guardians, acquiring military space systems, maturing the military doctrine for space power, and organizing space forces to present to our Combatant Commands.”
The branch was founded amid ongoing efforts by China and Russia to develop space-based weapons capabilities. In 2007, China launched a missile 537 miles above the earth and destroyed one of its own satellites and both countries have continued to develop weapons that can destroy satellites in space.
Even before Trump put his support behind creating a Space Force, the Department of Defense had debated creating a Space Corps as a sub-branch of the U.S. Air Force. The Air Force had already taken some measures to protect its space-based assets.
In the nearly two years since it received its initial funding, the Space Force has staffed itself by drawing heavily from members of other military branches who have space-related training. In December 2020, the first seven Space Force members to enlist directly with the new branch graduated from basic training.
Speaking in support of Huffman’s newly proposed legislation, Peace Action President Kevin Martin said, “Outer space must be de-militarized and kept as a realm strictly for peaceful exploration. The Space Force is an absurd, duplicative waste of taxpayer dollars, and richly deserves the ridicule it has garnered. Peace Action, the largest grassroots peace and disarmament organization in the US, commends and endorses Rep. Huffman’s ‘No Militarization of Space Act’ to abolish the Space Farce.”
Andrew Lautz, the Director of Federal Policy at National Taxpayers Union said, “The Space Force has quickly become a taxpayer boondoggle that adds layers of bureaucracy and waste to an already-bloated defense budget.”
“Americans don’t want more wasteful military spending, which means Congress should pass the No Militarization of Space Act before the Space Force budget inevitably skyrockets,” Sean Vitka, the senior policy counsel for Demand Progress, also said in support of Huffman’s bill.
In February, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki appeared to compare press questions about the Space Force to questions about the paint scheme of Air Force One, raising criticisms that President Joe Biden’s administration does not take the branch seriously. In a subsequent statement, Psaki said, “They [Space Force] absolutely have the full support of the Biden administration and we are not revisiting the decision to establish the Space Force. The desire for the Department of Defense to focus greater attention and resources on the growing security challenges in space has long been a bipartisan issue, and formed by numerous independent commissions and studies conducted by multiple administrations, and thousands of men and women proudly serve in the Space Force.”