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Trump's Space Force is a Star Wars Rerun

MUCH of our country's space exploration, for most Americans who chip in with their contributions to our government's budget, is a hobby and a fascination; much more than it's essential or even relevant to the needs and concerns that are their own personal priority for government. It's entertainment at shuttle launch time, and it has been a propagandized race with Russia and China that politicians seem to believe still has merit and should fill us with patriotic pride at our insistence on Cold War-like competition in space over more pragmatic and peaceable cooperation between nations.

As many like to point out in defense of the tax dollars that fuel the space chase, the percentage of that budget which goes into space exploration is relatively small compared to where the rest of the money is spent. That little blip in the trillion-plus national budget make space exploration a negligible expense in their eyes - save for the trillions of dollars in escalating debt (ironically, much of it to the China), and the miserly way money for our basic needs is apportioned out by Congress.

Trump's reported plan to start a 'Space Force' was a thumbs-up to legislators of both parties with firms and companies in their states connected in some fashion or another to the billions appropriated for missile defense systems, military satellites, propulsion systems, robotics, and every little facet of starry-eyed and enterprising space enthusiasts' wish list that they can manage to convince the American public to fund.

The way funds are allocated to NASA, money is dispersed and mostly hidden throughout the Defense, Energy, and Interior appropriations. The Defense Dept., through their Air Force budget, shoulders a great deal of responsibility for delivering the feed to the industry trough.

Pres. Bush's Chief Administrator of NASA for a time, Sean O’Keefe, who just happened to serve as Navy secretary, as well as comptroller and chief financial officer at the Defense Dept., was quoted declaring that NASA and the Pentagon were practically inseparable. Bruce K. Gagnon, Coordinator of the Global Network against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, quotes O’Keefe, who was on a paid advisory board of Northrop Grumman and Raytheon, that it is “imperative that we have a more direct association between the Defense Department and NASA.”

O’Keefe, continued, “Technology has taken us to a point where you really can’t differentiate between that which is purely military in application and whose capabilities are civil and commercial in nature.”

NASA, the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy are currently working together to develop the technology base for what they term, Space Nuclear Reactor Power. This program will develop and demonstrate in ground tests the technology required for space reactor power systems from tens of kilowatts to hundreds of kilowatts. The SP-100 nuclear reactor system is to be launched ‘radioactively cold.' When the mission is done, the reactor is intended to be stored in space for hundreds of years. The reactor would would utilize new blends of "recycled" uranium fuel.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, manages the Mars Odyssey mission for NASA's Office of Space Science. Additional science partners are located at the Russian Aviation and Space Agency and at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, is the prime contractor for the project to develop and build the orbiter. Mission operations are conducted jointly from Lockheed Martin and JPL.

Included in NASA plans for the nuclear rocket to Mars is a new generation of Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs) for interplanetary missions. NASA touts future mining colonies on the Moon, Mars, and asteroids that would be powered by nuclear reactors. Most experts believe that only advanced nuclear reactors could provide the hundreds of kilowatts of power the craft would need to get a manned crew there in the time needed to protect them from the degrading effects of space radiation.

The Prometheus Project, established in 2003 by NASA to develop nuclear-powered systems for long-duration space mission, is based on an archaic notion that began in the '50's with a space project named Orion. Project Orion was a propulsion system that depended on exploding atomic bombs roughly two hundred feet behind the space vehicle. Orion was developed at the old General Dynamics Corporation, under the guidance of several former Manhattan Project scientists.

The project's participants proposed exploding atomic bombs at regular intervals at very short distances behind a specially designed space ship in order to propel it to the Moon and other planets in the Solar System far more quickly and cheaply than with chemical-fuel rockets.

The motto for Orion was, 'Mars by 1965, Saturn by 1970'. Orion ran out of money and needed the government's help. The military agreed to take up the project, but only on the condition that it adapt itself to a military purpose. The project was later abandoned because of uncertainty about the safety and efficacy of nuclear energy, and the high cost of the speculative program. Also, because the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963 outlawed it. (will the new nuclear technology need new testing agreements between nations?)

In the late 1950's, Freeman Dyson, physicist, educator, and author, joined the Orion Project research team. "Technology must be guided and driven by ethics if it is to do more than provide new toys for the rich," Dyson said, as he received the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion 2000. Dyson once commented that, "Project Orion is a monument to those who once believed, or still believe, in turning the power of these weapons into something else."

The Prometheus project was a cynical attempt by the administration to commit the nation to Rumsfeld's Star War's nonsense. Bush and Europa's moons.. right. The Bush WH wanted you to know that their nuclear space project to Mars would prove new technologies for future NASA missions... like space-based weaponry.

The decision by Bush to withdraw from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty allowed research beneficial to orbiting space-based lasers as part of a global missile defense shield to resume; orbiting space lasers on permanent space platforms.

Apart from the administration and NASA's ambition to explore Europa and Mars, the Prometheus Project was intended to pave the way for the original Pentagon plan to mount nuclear reactors on space-based platforms to power their nuclear lasers. And of course, as they also asserted, ". . . the United States must also have the capability to deny America's adversaries the use of commercial space platforms, for military purposes."

Despite Trump's hawking of a new 'Space Force,' whatever that is, the U.S. military has already established a significant space program.

In a 1997 U.S. Army Space and Strategic Defense Command news release, the then-commanding general of the Training and Doctrine Command, Gen. Hartzog, and the then-commander of the SSDC, Lieut. General Anderson signed a memorandum of agreement to recognize SSDC as the Army's specified proponent for space and missile defense. http://fas.org/spp/military/commission/report.htm

The MOA also permitted SSDC to establish the Space and Missile Defense Battle Lab.

The Space and Strategic Defense Command was set up as the Army's specified proponent for space and national missile defense and an "integrator" for theater missile defense issues - recognized by the military establishment as a "one stop shop".

The Space Battle Lab is intended to develop "warfighting concepts, focus military science and technology research, conduct warfighting experiments, and support exercises and training activities, all focused on space and missile defense."

Lockheed Martin Space Systems and Northrop Grumman Space Technology ended up with the contract for the Space Battle Lab.

Lockheed Space Systems promotes the corporation's ambitions in "space-based telecommunications; remote-sensing; missile systems; and the capability to integrate these complex elements into a total "system of systems," as an enterprise built by heritage aerospace companies including Lockheed, Martin Marietta, RCA, GE and Loral.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems is one of the major operating units of the Lockheed Corporation. It designs, develops, tests, manufactures and operates a variety of advanced technology systems for military, civil, and commercial customers. Chief products include space launch and ground systems, remote sensing and communications satellites for commercial and government customers, advanced space observatories and spacecraft, fleet ballistic missiles and missile defense systems.

Everything for the next-generation of meddling in space. Everything for a down-on-his-luck weapon's manufacturer to get his blood money-grubbing career back on track.

Specific defense projects for the Lockheed Space Battle Lab:

-Global Positioning System IIR (GPS).
-Defense Meteorological Satellite Program
-Space Based Infrared System (Space-Based Lasers)
-International Space Station
-Theater High-Altitude Area Defense
-Airborne Laser
-Trident II D5 Fleet Ballistic Missile: The D5 is the latest generation of submarine launched ballistic missiles
-Trident II D5 Fleet Ballistic Missile: (UK FBM). The D5, built by LM Space & Strategic Missiles, is the cornerstone of the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense's strategic nuclear fleet.

Then there's the Air Force Space Command and the Space Warfare Center . . .

AFSPC is the major command providing space forces for the U.S. Space Command and trained ICBM forces for U.S. Strategic Command. AFSPC also supports NORAD with ballistic missile warning information, operates the Space Warfare Center to develop space applications for direct warfighter support, and is responsible for the Department of Defense's ICBM follow-on operational test and evaluation program.

Spacelift operations at the East and West Coast launch bases provide services, facilities and range safety control for the conduct of DOD, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and commercial launches. Through the command and control of all DOD satellites, satellite operators provide force-multiplying effects -- continuous global coverage, low vulnerability and autonomous operations. Satellites provide essential in-theater secure communications, weather and navigational data for ground, air and fleet operations, and threat warning. Ground-based radar and Defense Support Program satellites monitor ballistic missile launches around the world to guard against a surprise attack on North America. Space surveillance radars provide information on the location of satellites and space debris for the nation and the world.

All of these Defense dept. ambitions in space contain some element of funding for NASA operations to facilitate the missile and weapons support systems.

Stephen Hadley, Condi Rice's deputy and Bush's Nat. Security Adviser, served as assistant secretary of defense for international security policy from 1989 to 1993 and was responsible for defense policy on NATO and Western Europe, nuclear weapons and ballistic missile defense, and arms control. He was active in the negotiations that resulted in the START I and START II treaties. Hadley was also a member of the National Security Council staff during the earlier Bush administration.

As reported by Karl Grossman of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, Stephen Hadley, Condi Rice's deputy and Bush's Nat. Security Adviser, who also served as assistant secretary of defense for international security policy from 1989 to 1993, told an Air Force Association Convention in a speech September 11, 2000, "Space is going to be important. It has a great feature in the military,"

The Rumsfeld Commission's January 2001 report on the Military in Space, warned of a "space Pearl Harbor" if the U.S. does not thoroughly "dominate all aspects of space."

Rich Haver, former special assistant for intelligence to Donald Rumsfeld, said he expected battles in space within the next two decades.

"I believe space is the place we will fight in the next 20 years," said Haver, then vice president for intelligence strategy at Northrop Grumman Mission Systems. (sincere, concerned look on his face as he speaks).

"There are executive orders that say we don't want to do that," Haver explained. "There's been a long-standing U.S. policy to try to keep space a peaceful place, but ... we have in space assets absolutely essential to the conduct of our military operations (and our portfolios), absolutely essential to our national security. They have been there for many years," he asserted.

"When the true history of the Cold War is written and all the classified items are finally unclassified, I believe that historians will note that it was in space that a significant degree of this country's ability to win the Cold War was embedded," Haver extolled.

Responding to a question about the implications of China sending a man into space, Haver said: "I think the Chinese are telling us they're there, and I think if we ever wind up in a confrontation again with any one of the major powers who has a space capability we will find space is a battleground."

In September 2000, the PNAC drafted a report entitled "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century."

The conservative foundation- funded report was authored by Bill Kristol, Bruce Jackson, Gary Schmitt, John Bolton and others. Bolton, now Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, was Senior Vice President of the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

The report called for: ". . . significant, separate allocation of forces and budgetary resources over the next two decades for missile defense," and claimed that despite the "residue of investments first made in the mid- and late 1980s, over the past decade, the pace of innovation within the Pentagon had slowed measurably." Also that, "without the driving challenge of the Soviet military threat, efforts at innovation had lacked urgency."

The PNAC report asserted that "while long-range precision strikes will certainly play an increasingly large role in U.S. military operations, American forces must remain deployed abroad, in large numbers for decades and that U.S. forces will continue to operate many, if not most, of today's weapons systems for a decade or more."

The PNAC document encouraged the military to "develop and deploy global missile defenses to defend the American homeland and American allies, and to provide a secure basis for U.S. power projection around the world."

You can hear the pitch of former Lockheed executives hawking in favor of their company's space weaponry:

-Control the new ‘International commons' of space and cyberspace, and pave the way for the creation of a new military service with the mission of space control. (U.S. Space Forces; eventually realized in the form of the Air Force-financed Lockheed Space Battle Lab) http://www.spacedaily.com/news/milspace-03z.html

-Exploit the "revolution" in military space affairs to insure the long-term superiority of U.S. conventional forces.
-Establish a two-stage transformation process which maximizes the value of current weapons systems through the application of advanced technologies.

The PNAC paper claimed that, "Potential rivals such as China were anxious to exploit these technologies broadly, while adversaries like Iran, Iraq and North Korea were rushing to develop ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons as a deterrent to American intervention in regions they sought to dominate. Also that, information and other new technologies – as well as widespread technological and weapons proliferation – were creating a ‘dynamic' that might threaten America's ability to exercise its ‘dominant' military power."

Now those same phony threats from yesteryear are being inflated by Trump and Pence into another (GOP) drive for U.S. dominance in space; paid for by the expansion of the nuclear and aerospace industry at the expense of the more pressing and important needs that our politicians aren't willing to provide funding for out of cynical concerns about the effects of deficit-spending.

Pence yesterday:

Trump wants Congress to allocate $8 billion over the next five years for space security systems as it establishes a U.S. Space Force as the sixth branch of the military, Vice President Pence said.

“It’s not enough to have an American presence in space,” Pence said Thursday in a speech at the Pentagon. “We must have American dominance in space. And so we will.”

What's really going on here? There seems to be no limit to aerospace ambitions. The administration is pushing ahead with the expansion of the military space program, despite the limitations of the nation's economy and the adoption of many other costly ‘priorities' for the armed forces.

Between peaceful nations, parity and balance of our respective forces and weaponry is the maxim in our expressions of our defense and security goals. Any open declaration of the need for military dominance is an invitation to a dangerously competitive, world-wide arms race. Such a declaration of U.S. dominance in space threatens to undo the cooperation and peaceful transfer of knowledge and technology between nations which has enabled myriad advances having nothing at all to do with warring or any other military ambition.

The 2002 PNAC document is a mirrored synopsis of the Bush administration's foreign policy today (not so coincidentally with one of its architects, John Bolton, serving as Trump's senior Nat. Security adviser). Pres. Trump is projecting a domineering image of the United States around the world which, in the past, has provoked lesser equipped countries to desperate, unconventional defenses; or resigned them to a humiliating surrender to our rape of their lands, their resources and their communities.

Trump intends for there to be more conquest as the United States exercises its military force around the world; our mandate, our justification, presumably inherent in the mere possession of our instruments of destruction. He is set to unleash unnecessary fear between the nations of the world as he dissolves decades of firm understandings about an America power which was to be seen as guileless in its unassailable defenses. The falseness of our diplomacy is revealed in scrambles for ‘useable', tactical nuclear missiles, new weapons systems, and our new justifications for their use.

Our folly is evident in the rejection of our ambitions by even the closest of our allies, as Trump rejects all entreaties to moderate his manufactured mandate to conquer. Isolation is enveloping our nation like the warming of the atmosphere and the creeping melt of our planet's ancient glaciers.

How far we've fallen

Josh Marshall @joshtpm 2h2 hours ago

This photograph of Ivanka hurling a refugee child over the border wall is chilling. But it shows how far we've fallen.

Kamala Harris: 'We won't be silent about race.'



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