New Space Command General Meets with Private Investors

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Score Another One for the Military-Industrial Complex. The Space Command General Will Get Big Budgets and BIllionaires Will Get Bigger Pockets.

This is an opinion piece, straight off, and I hope you’ll not dismiss it out of hand just because it’s coming from a self-proclaimed liberal hippie. That said, I feel compelled to report on this story with an angle and an agenda. At least I’m not hiding from it. First, here are the facts: The President really wants a Space Force. I think the President is either an idiot or a puppet, among other more monstrous predicate adjectives. I’ve made my feelings about the Space Force idea quite clear on Space Porn, so we won’t go much into that. The first step in creating this ridiculous Space Force is creating a separate U.S. Space Command.

We had a separate U.S. Space Command until 2002 when President Bush restructured the military and those duties were absorbed by other commands within the Air Force. The Air Force itself, however, has had a space command this whole time. Nevertheless, the President wants his way, and so he’s expanding the big bad government even more by creating a whole new, and wholly unnecessary sixth side of the pentagon (irony definitely intended). I digress.

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

-Dwight D. Eisenhower

The Real Problem

You can read more of my rant against the Space Force idea in the article listed below, but for now, let’s just look at the newly re-minted U.S. Space Command instead. The real focus of this piece is on comments made by General Jay Raymond, the U.S. Air Force General the senate recently confirmed to head up the Space Command. This week at the Air Force Association’s annual conference, Gen. Raymond told reporters that he’s already met with the top billionaires in the space industry. 

Gen. Jay Raymond

Gen. Jay Raymond

When asked about conversations with industry leaders from SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Orbit, Gen. Raymond said, “All of the above.” Raymond went on to comment on the great strides the private sector has made, and how he hopes that Space Command can benefit from those advances. Sounds fine, so far, I guess, right? Well, then he said this, and it got me thinking: “Early in my career as a young captain, I was the commercial space officer for Air Force Space Command. So, I have been steeped in interfacing with the commercial business for many, many years.” 

On the surface, this all seems fine. I mean, NASA works with all of those companies and more in public-private partnerships, right? Well, yes, they do. But NASA isn’t making missiles. Okay, they are making rockets, but not warheads. 

My Point Finally Cometh

Remember that quote at the top from Eisenhower? That was made during the Chance for Peace speech in 1953. And yeah, Ike was a bit of a hypocrite—after all he did increase military spending during that whole Cold War mess—but by the time he left office, he warned of the very economic situation we’ve been in ever since. Also known as “The Military-Industrial Complex.” The idea is, innovation and new technology are driven by massive government contracts handed to weapons manufacturers for R&D. These advances in tech bleed over into society and become an essential part of the culture. The culture then tolerates a perpetual state of warfare and increased defense spending because it gives them microwave ovens and GPS.  All it costs is the lives of populations of millions of people halfway across the world.

But are they really all halfway across the world (not that it should matter, you savages!)? Well, turns out, we have people who “hunger and are not fed,” and those who “are cold and not clothed,” right here at home, too. I’ve belabored this point several times, I know, but we already spend more on defense than the next several countries combined. Surely we could get by with fewer fighter jets and more textbooks.

Final Thoughts

Yet, we’re expanding the military, making billionaire contractors richer off of weapons development, and weaponizing space. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with Musk, Bezos, and Branson getting rich off of advancements that help everyone, but they can do it with NASA. They don’t have to have weapons contracts, too.

We don’t have to accept the military-industrial complex. We do, because, in the memories of nearly everyone who’s alive and still making decisions, it’s always been that way. But it never had to be, and it still doesn’t. I’d argue that we should expand NASA, not the Air Space Force. If we expand knowledge and understanding, then maybe we can solve our biggest challenges without blowing everything and everyone up all the time.

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Brandon Humphreys

Brandon Humphreys

I'm a wizard. I write stuff and it goes from my head into yours - Magic! Apart from that, I am the Senior Editor for Space Porn, a veteran, a rock guitarist, and a teacher.

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