President Donald Trump’s enthusiasm for a new military branch focused on space is apparently not widely shared, as two polls released on Thursday showed that a majority of respondents said that the Space Force is a bad idea, Ars Technica informed.
The Trump administration plans to split the ‘Space Force’ from the Air Force and have it ready by 2020. The first step would be to create a U.S. Space Command, a joint command within the Pentagon similar to the Joint Special Operations Command and U.S. Cyber Command that would oversee space operations of all the services, by the end of 2018.
The ‘Space Force’ plan has been widely derided, though some members of Congress have previously voiced support for creating a space-focused branch. Concerns about anti-satellite technology being developed by U.S. adversaries have driven some support for creation of a separate force. There have been similar discussions about creating a U.S. Cyber Force as well, though those discussions have gotten significant pushback from the service branches, Ars Technica adds.
According to BBC, the creation of a ‘Space Force’ may in part be a response to Chinese satellite and missile programs that are now producing results, says Bleddyn Bowen, a space warfare expert at the University of Leicester. “The U.S. has ramped up in response to China,” he says.
In 2007, China tested an anti-satellite missile that destroyed its own weather satellite orbiting the globe at a height of 500 miles. Despite a lack of solid information, Washington and Moscow are both believed to have also developed anti-satellite laser programs.
Concerning the public’s support for the ‘Space Force’ idea though, in a poll conducted by CNN and SSRS on a broad range of policy issues, 37 percent of respondents said that the U.S. should create a Space Force, while 55 percent said that the U.S. should not. The CNN/SSRS poll was based on a sample of 1,002 Americans reached by phone.
Even among Republicans, the support for Trump’s idea is lukewarm, CNN adds. Exactly half of the party and half of those who approve of the job Trump is doing as President want a ‘Space Force’ – but half is barely a majority, so it’s clearly not extremely popular among his supporters considering their overwhelming support for other elements of his agenda.
An Economist/YouGov poll of 19,487 US adults worded the question a little differently and found that only 29 percent of responding Americans thought the Space Force was a good idea; 42 percent thought it was a bad idea, while 29 percent were on the fence or expressed some other opinion.
The Defense Department had categorically resisted the idea of a ‘Space Force’ prior to Trump’s announcement of his decision in June, but according to recent statements by Defense officials, this was largely because of budgetary concerns, Ars Technica notes.