Fifty-one years ago today, the Apollo 11 lunar mission achieved liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. That was certainly a momentous day in the history of our great nation. It marked the beginning of a new chapter for all mankind. Many people forget that a “new chapter” means the beginning of something as well as the end of something. While it may have been the end of the chapter in which mankind was tethered to Earth, it began a new era of defending American interests in the skies and beyond.
Although we have entered into multiple international agreements to deter the militarization of space, bad actors like Russia and China ignore these treaties when it suits their interests. Earth’s orbit was filled with debris, known as space junk, when China conducted anti-satellite missile tests in 2007. Russia hasn’t been slacking off on their space weapons program either. If America doesn’t step up to the plate, these nations could easily gain the power to completely destroy all of our installations in space with no retaliation from us. Everything from communications to weather forecasting would be devastated by such an attack. Given a little time, these nations could render all of our airborne missiles obsolete with space-based defenses like President Reagan proposed with his Strategic Defense Initiative.
President Trump was wise enough to see our vulnerability here, which is why he announced the launch of a new sixth branch of the U.S. Armed Forces called the U.S. Space Force. With this new branch, we can look after American interests throughout the globe by countering the militarization undertaken by the likes of Russia and China. If America is to have bargaining power with hostile nations, we have to pursue real military superiority. The challenge of space-based defense might have seemed like a distant proposition for Americans witnessing the Apollo 11 launch fifty-one years ago, but our world is a very different place today. The sooner we can come to terms with this new reality, the sooner we can secure peace for the freedom-loving people of the world.