Karl Grossman - Investigative Reporter and Professor of Journalism

No Militarization of Space Act

A “No Militarization of Space Act”—which would abolish the new U.S. Space Force—has been introduced in the U.S. Congress. It is sponsored by five members of the House of Representatives led by Representative Jared Huffman who, in a statement, called the U.S. Space Force “costly and unnecessary.”

Representative Huffman declared: “The long-standing neutrality of space has fostered a competitive, non-militarized age of exploration every nation and generation has valued since the first days of space travel. But since its creation under the former Trump administration, the Space Force has threatened longstanding peace and flagrantly wasted billions of taxpayer dollars.”

Huffman said: “It’s time we turn our attention back to where it belongs: addressing urgent domestic and international priorities like battling COVID-19, climate change, and growing economic inequality. Our mission must be to support the American people, not spend billions on the militarization of space.” 

With the California representative as co-sponsors of the measure are Representatives Mark Pocan of Wisconsin, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus; Maxine Waters of California; Rashida Tlaib of Michigan; and Jesus Garcia of Illinois. All are Democrats.

The U.S. Space Force was established in 2019 as the sixth branch of U.S. armed forces after then President Trump asserted that “it is not enough to merely have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space.”

The Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space heralded the Huffman measure. “The Global Network congratulates Representatives Huffman and his co-sponsors for their truthful and valiant introduction of a bill to abolish the wasteful and provocative Space Force,” said the organization’s coordinator, Bruce Gagnon.

“There can be no question that we do not need a new arms race in space at the very time climate crisis is raging, our medical care system is collapsing, and the wealth divide is growing beyond imagination,” said Gagnon. “How dare we even consider spending trillions of dollars so the U.S. can become the ‘Master of Space’!” said Gagnon referring to the “Master of Space” motto of a component of the Space Force.

“War in space signifies a deep spiritual disconnection from all that matters most on our Mother Earth,” said Gagnon. “We encourage every living, breathing American citizen to contact their congressional representatives and demand they support this bill to get rid of Space Force.”

Kevin Martin, President of Peace Action, said: “Outer space must be de-militarized and kept as a realm strictly for peaceful exploration. The Space Force is an absurd, duplicative waste of taxpayer dollars, and richly deserves the ridicule it has garnered. Peace Action, the largest grassroots peace and disarmament organization in the U.S., commends and endorses Rep. Huffman’s No Militarization of Space Act to abolish the Space Farce.”

Andrew Lautz, Director of Federal Policy at the National Taxpayers Union, said: “The Space Force has quickly become a taxpayer boondoggle that adds layers of bureaucracy and waste to an already-bloated defense budget. Representative Huffman’s legislation would eliminate the Space Force before it’s too late to do so, possibly saving taxpayers billions of dollars in the process. NTU applauds Representative Huffman for introducing this bill.”

The legislation, if approved, would be part of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2022, the annual bill that authorizes military spending.

The Space Force was established, noted the statement from Representative Huffman, “despite the country’s commitment under the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, which restricts the placement of weapons of mass destruction in space and banned military maneuvers on celestial bodies.” The U.S. Space Force has had a budget for 2021 of “a staggering $15.5 billion,” said the statement.

 China, Russia and U.S. neighbor Canada have led in efforts to expand the Outer Space Treaty of 1967—put together by the U.S., the former Soviet Union and Great Britain and supported widely by nations all over the world—by not only barring weapons of mass destruction being deployed in space but all weaponry in space. This would be done through a Prevention of an Arms Race (PAROS) treaty. However, it must be approved by the UN’s Conference on Disarmament before being enacted—and for that a there must be unanimous vote by nations in the conference. The U.S. has refused to support the PAROS treaty, blocking its passage.

At the UN in Geneva in September, Li Song, China’s ambassador for disarmament affairs, said the U.S. should “stop being a ‘stumbling block’” on the PAROS treaty. Li said: “After the end of the Cold War, and especially in the past two decades, the U.S. has tried its best to get rid of its international obligations, refused to be bound by new treaties and long resisted multilateral negotiations on PAROS. To put it bluntly, the U.S.wants to dominate outer space.”

Li continued: “If space is not effectively prevented from becoming a battlefield, then the ‘rules of space traffic’ will be no more than a ‘code of space warfare.’”

Craig Eisendrath of Philadelphia, cofounder of the National Constitution Center and who died earlier this year, as a young U.S. State Department office was involved in the Outer Space Treaty’s creation and later was to emphasized that “we sought to de-weaponize space before it got weaponized…to keep war out of space.”

The U.S. Space Force has requested a budget of $17.4 billion for 2022. Many U.S. Air Force bases are being renamed U.S. Space Force bases. The U.S. Space Force received what American Military News described as “its first offensive weapon… satellite jammers” last year. Subsequently in 2020, the Financial Times’ ran an article headline declaring: “U.S military officials eye new generation of space weapons.” And this year the website c4isrnet.com, which describes itself as “Media for the Intelligence Age Military,” ran a piece headlined: “The Space Force wants to use directed-energy systems for space superiority.”