Elon Musk defends President Trump's Space Force idea and says that it is 'cool' and 'sensible'

  • Elon Musk appeared on a Recode podcast with journalist Kara Swisher on Friday.
  • The Tesla and SpaceX CEO said President Donald Trump’s proposed space force “is a sensible idea.”
  • He noted how the original Air Force creation was also met with scepticism, but is now widely seen as necessary.
  • However, retired astronaut

While much of the world rolled their eyes at President Donald Trump’s Space Force proposal, he’s found at least one fan in Elon Musk.

“It may be controversial, but I actually like the idea,” the Tesla and SpaceX CEO told journalist Kara Swisher on a Recode podcast published Friday. “I think it’s gonna become obvious that we should have a Space Force.”

Musk went on to explain how the Air Force was originally met with scepticism as well following its advent shortly after World War II. Before 1947, aircraft had been managed by the Army, until President Truman created the division with the National Security Act.


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“People today may not realise back then it was wildly panned as a ridiculous thing to create the Air Force,” Musk said. “But now everyone’s like, ‘Obviously you should have an Air Force.’ And I think it’s gonna become obvious that we should have a Space Force, too.”

Not everyone thinks the need is so obvious, though.

Is the Space Force ‘a dumb idea’?

Pence space shuttleHandout from NASA via Getty ImagesVice President Mike Pence speaks in front of a NASA space shuttle on October 5.

The idea is part of the 2018 National Defence Authorization Act, which became law in December 2017. It defines the force as “a separate military department responsible for the national security space activities” and asks the Defence Department to submit a final plan for its structure and functions by December 31, 2018.

The new division would cost up to $US13 billion over five years, the current Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said in a September memo. The President even reportedly considered firing her for what he perceived as resistance to the idea.

Elsewhere, retired NASA astronaut Mark Kelly – a former Navy pilot, combat veteran, four-time space-flyer, and the identical twin brother of the former astronaut Scott Kelly – doesn’t support the plan, and some members of Congress have also voiced their distaste.

“This is a dumb idea. The Air Force does this already. That is their job,” Mark Kelly tweeted in June. “What’s next, we move submarines to the 7th branch and call it the ‘under-the-sea force?'”

Bill Ingalls/NASAFormer astronaut Mark Kelly.

In an August appearance on MSNBC, Kelly embellished on his disdain for creating a Space Force.

“There is a threat out there but it’s being handled by the US Air Force today,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense to build a whole other level of bureaucracy in an incredibly bureaucratic DoD.”

On Twitter, jokes abounded after Vice President Mike Pence formally announced the Space Force, which the administration hopes to have up and running by 2020.

“I think also it could be pretty helpful for maybe expanding our civilisation,” Musk continued, “I think we could just have a base on the moon, for example. A base on Mars.”

He added: “I do think it will become obvious over time that a Space Force is a sensible thing to do.”

However, such a military branch would necessarily be military-focused – and less likely to serve Musk’s long-term goals of colonizing Mars.

Read Recode’s full interview here.

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