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Launching A Space Force Raises Questions For San Diego

In early August Vice President Mike Pence promoted the president’s newly rele...

Photo by Chuck Burton AP

Above: In early August Vice President Mike Pence promoted the president’s newly released 15-page outline for a new branch of the military.

Raised in President Trump's San Diego speech before Marines, Space Force has become presidential policy, though a San Diego policy expert questions whether it is the right solution.

It was a surprise when President Trump made the announcement March 13, 2018, at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

“Maybe we need a new force," Trump said. "We’ll call it the space force. And I was not really serious, but then I said 'what a great idea, maybe we’ll have to do that.'”

Earlier this month, Vice President Mike Pence promoted the president’s newly released 15-page outline for a new branch of the military.

“The United States will not shrink from this challenge,” Pence said.

Charles Martoglio is a retired vice admiral who spent a lot of time in Washington. He teaches at the School of Global Policy and Strategy at UC San Diego.

“There are a lot of questions we need to understand before we commit the national resources to a space force," he said.

Trump’s plan set a 2020 deadline to stand up a new military force, but the real debate will be in Congress, Martoglio said.

“On the one end there is space force. On the other end is continuing to do what we’re doing but with putting additional dollars to it," he said.

When the Trump campaign asked people to vote on the patch for what would be the military’s sixth service branch, people questioned whether any of this is serious. Some of these ideas have been talked about for a long time, he said.

“The idea of Space Force is a good one because it’s putting emphasis on an area where we need emphasis placed,” Martoglio said.

The Air Force handles everything from missile defense to communication satellites. It could be downsized if a new branch of the military takes over space.

It is too early to tell if San Diego might lose SPAWAR and other high-tech Navy programs. Those programs could see an influx of cash if space becomes the new budget priority. Though, the money will have to come from somewhere.

“If money comes out of other programs and San Diego has lots of conventional military forces, how does it affect them? How does it affect their day to day readiness?” Martoglio said.

The president's outline commits to having a proposal submitted to Congress by early next year.

Raised in President Trump's San Diego speech before the Marines, Space Force has become presidential policy though a San Diego policy expert questions whether it is the right solution.

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