Neil deGrasse Tyson: I Proposed A Space Force In 2001, Economic Value Of Space Must Be Protected


Neil deGrasse Tyson, the astronomer who runs the Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Natural History in New York, speaks to the 'Joe Rogan Experience' about why he says it is time for a sixth military branch, the Space Force, to split off from the Air Force.

NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: By the way, on the Trump Space Force. There are a whole lot of Trump-haters out there, but if you want to hate Trump rationally, you want to not hate him no matter what he does, you want to evaluate statement by statement what he says.

He says, 'I want a Space Force.'

Let's think about that. In the Second World War, there was the Air Force, except they were not their own branch. They were part of the army, it was called the Army Air Force. When you realize that command and control in the air needs different kinds of soldiers, they have to be pilots. It is a different kind of decision making, different kinds of tactical actions you would have in the theater of operations. So it was sensible to spin off a new branch of the military called the Air Force.

No one today would question whether that was a good idea. Today, you should know that operations in space, the vacuum of the universe, is a different regime you're operating in than operating in the air. Your hardware looks different, your strategies are different, your command and control is different. So, it is not a crazy idea just because it came out of Trump's mouth.

In fact, I had proposed a Space Force in 2001 when I was in a commission appointed by George W. Bush to explore the future of the U.S. Space Aerospace industry. I put it on the table, we had air force general there, members of Congress, people from Lockheed Martin, and people said the Air Force is currently overseeing space. The U.S. Space Command. Everyone was happy with it, so I said fine, let's not worry about it.

As our needs and presence in space grows, but more importantly, the size of our assets, as long as that continues to grow, what else would a military do, beyond protecting your borders? They would protect your assets? And our space assets, day by day, are growing by leaps and bounds. And it is not just that, but it is the value of the satellite to you.

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