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Space Force Is a Dangerous Shift Toward Weaponizing space

Expensive new arm of military will decimate essential services needed now.

TAKOMA PARK, MD - The U.S. Space force is a dangerous and exorbitantly expensive development that could lead to war in space while decimating peace and resources on Earth and should be unilaterally opposed, said Beyond Nuclear in a statement today.

“Despite the excitement of the recent manned SpaceX launch, and the new Netflix series spoofing the Space Force, the real thing is deadly serious and extremely alarming,” said Beyond Nuclear board member, Karl Grossman, the primary author of the new Beyond Nuclear publication, The U.S. Space Force and the dangers of nuclear power and nuclear war in space, published today.

“The rhetoric surrounding the Space Force and its goal of ‘American dominance in space,’ signals an ominous return to a Cold War mentality,” Grossman said. “In describing space as a ‘warfighting domain’, it’s clear that Trump’s creation of a Space Force increases the likelihood of war in space."

While SpaceX is a privately-funded venture bent on scientific exploration, the U.S. Space Force, created by the Trump White House last December, is federally funded and with a far more ominous agenda.

Weapons in space have historically been justified as necessary for “defensive” purposes. But that all changed on May 15, 2020 when Trump, while unveiling the Space Force flag, declared: “Space is going to be…the future, both in terms of defense and offense.”

And while Trump and the military have tried to justify the Space Force by alleging that China and Russia have been moving into space militarily, the new Beyond Nuclear booklet reveals that the US is the greater aggressor.

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China and Russia – along with Canada – have led efforts for decades to expand the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 and ban all weapons in space. China, Russia and Canada have also led calls for the ratification of the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space or PAROS treaty, barring all space weaponry. But the U.S. has consistently voted against PAROS, preventing it from coming into force.

The Space Force has echoes of former U.S. president, Ronald Reagan’s insistence on the creation of a Strategic Defense Initiative, nicknamed “Star Wars,” in the mid-1980s. SDI effectively derailed promising progress toward full nuclear disarmament by the then Soviet Union under the leadership of its premier, Mikhail Gorbachev.

Early plans for SDI centered on hydrogen bombs, advanced by Dr. Edward Teller, then shifted to ideas for other space-based weaponry including hypervelocity guns, particle beams and laser weapons. The energy needed to power weapons that would be deployed in space would likely be nuclear-powered, a direction the Space Force could be tempted to pursue.

The White House has requested $15 billion for the Space Force in the 2021 federal budget, and the aerospace industry has suggested defunding entitlement programs to pay for it. That would likely include cutting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid among other social and welfare programs.

“Space is for wonder not for war-fighting,” said Linda Pentz Gunter, Beyond Nuclear’s international specialist, and co-author of the Space Force booklet. “It’s where we live. As the world grapples with climate change and pandemics, it has never been more urgent to avoid arming our final frontier – space – with deadly weapons of mass destruction.”

Added Grossman: “China and Russia will not sit back while the U.S. pursues this aggressive policy toward space dominance. They will meet the U.S. in kind. And they will likely be followed by other nations, turning space into a war zone.”

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Beyond Nuclear aims to educate and activate the public about the connections between nuclear power and nuclear weapons and the need to abandon both to safeguard our future. Beyond Nuclear advocates for an energy future that is sustainable, benign and democratic.

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