WASHINGTON — While most of the debate about establishing a Space Force within the Defense Department has centered on its national security implications, a recent Senate hearing examined how it could bolster growing commercial activity in space.
The May 14 hearing by Senate Commerce Committee’s space subcommittee was an opportunity by its chairman, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), to argue that a Space Force was essential to protect commercial and civil space activities from unspecified threats.
“A Space Force may well prove necessary to help provide certainty in ensuring that these efforts are successful, have longevity and are not to be subjected to the whims of rogue or hostile nations,” he said in his opening remarks, at one point likening the need for a Space Force to the role naval forces play in combating piracy on the high seas.
Witnesses agreed that a Space Force could play a role in protecting commercial space activities. “If commercial industry is to continue to make those investments, and we’re talking about big investments,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, “they need to have assurances that their investments are going to be safe and protected.” He noted that he supported earlier proposals for a Space Force ...