ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – The Trump Administration is making a push to expand military protection out of this world with the Space Force. Given Alaska's large military presence, what does the proposed new department look like for the state?
One reason The Trump Administration is pushing for Space Force is threats from other countries to take down U.S. communication systems.
"For many years, nations from Russia and China to North Korea and Iran have pursued weapons to jam, blind and disable our navigation and communications satellites via electronic attacks from the ground,” Vice President Mike Pence announced Thursday.
Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson toured Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson the same day the Space Force announcement was made.
Wilson told congressional leaders earlier this year that 31 out of 77 Air Force satellites are GPS. “Every mission we have in some way depends on those satellites," Wilson said during a meeting with Alaska journalists Thursday.
They don't just operate within the scope of defense. Some of the devices send the time to ATM machines and the New York Stock Exchange.
Details on whether any current bases would be converted or if Space Force will utilize only humans or be staffed with robots are not as clear at this point. However, Wilson says as the proposal stands today, it will function similar to a special operations command. “It’s Air Force and still presents forces to that combatant commander and that commander really focuses on: What do we need to do to fight, prevail and to take a punch and keep on operating.”
The document submitted to the DOD outlines four action steps to getting Space Force into orbit. A portion of the proposal also calls for changes to laws.
Since Congress would have to approve any funding and establish the new department, KTUU reached out to all three of Alaska's congressional leaders for reaction. So far, we haven't heard back from them. This story will be updated when we do.