Protecting our satellites

Published Aug 5, 2017 at 4:00pm

Concerned that the satellites Americans and our military depend on are in jeopardy, the top Republican and top Democrat on the House Subcommittee on Strategic Forces are pushing a proposal to create a new branch of the armed services: the United States Space Corps.

In a Space News op-ed, Reps. Mike Rogers, R-Alabama, and Jim Cooper, D-Tennessee, said space is not getting enough military attention. Americans communicate through satellites and navigate by them. China has proved that it can destroy a satellite by taking out one of its own. Were an enemy to attack U.S. satellites, it “would crush our economy and paralyze our military.”

Yet the Air Force prioritizes air over space financially, they argued. Todd Harrison of the Center for Strategic and International Studies said most military communications satellites are vulnerable to jamming. Rep. Rogers said the Air Force bureaucracy slows the launching of new equipment.

The proposal, which has already passed the House of Representatives as part of defense authorization, would put the Space Corps under the Air Force, much as the Marines are under the Navy. It faces an uphill battle. The secretary of the Air Force says it would make military bureaucracy more complex at a time when “we are trying to simplify it.”

We certainly don’t want more bureaucracy, but whatever path is chosen, we rely on satellites so they must be protected.