Some Democrats in Congress are trying to abolish the Space Force at a time when China and Russia have been doubling down on expanding their military capabilities in space.
On Wednesday, Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) introduced a bill named No Militarization of Space Act, trying to abolish the Space Force, a new military service branch created under former President Donald Trump.
“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 said in a statement. “But since its creation under the former Trump administration, the Space Force has threatened longstanding peace and flagrantly wasted billions of taxpayer dollars.”
The Space Force was established in December 2019 and has been deemed by some to be one of Trump’s signature achievements. But its origin can be traced back to the beginning of the Cold War.
“Our mission must be to support the American people, not spend billions on the militarization of space,” Huffman added.
Huffman’s bill was co-sponsored by Reps. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Jesús García (D-Ill.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.).
The bill comes as Congress moves to pass the National Defense Authorization Act, the annual bill that authorizes funding for the military.
Huffman’s bill is unlikely to succeed because the new military branch was established upon the National Defense Authorization Act (FY 2020), which received bipartisan support at the time. To cancel the Space Force, new legislation would need to be enacted.
China and Russia have been trying to advance their military capabilities in space for years.
China’s communist regime “has devoted significant resources to growing all aspects of its space program, from military space applications to civil applications,” reads the Pentagon’s latest annual report to Congress.
In May, China placed a rover on Mars, becoming the second nation after the United States to do so, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported. China has continued to develop its space station and explore the moon.
According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Secure World Foundation reports, Russia performed multiple anti-satellite weapons tests in 2020. China and India have tested their own military capabilities in orbit in past years, too, Axios reported.
By Li Hai