Does the final frontier need a space force?

August 17, 2018, 2:00 PM GMT+0

Only 10% of Americans think foreign countries’ space programs pose to American space-based assets

Space may be the final frontier, but Americans aren’t sure about President Trump’s latest proposal for a new branch of the military – a Space Force. In the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, conducted after the announcement that the Department of Defense had sent a proposal to Congress (Congress would need to authorize the new service branch), Americans are divided on the proposal, and there is no agreement on whether or not a new branch is needed at all.

The idea of a space military service (or at least a concerted effort to protect American assets and programs in space) did not originate with President Trump, but it is clear Americans are reacting to it as if it had. Republicans overwhelmingly support the project, Democrats overwhelmingly oppose it.

Only one in four say they have heard a lot about the proposal. The same percentage say they have heard nothing. That also may help explain the divided reaction.

Many Americans aren’t really sure how necessary a Space Force is. Many aren’t sure there is a serious threat to protect against. That division on how serious a threat foreign countries’ space programs are to American that are now in space is fundamentally a partisan one. Half of Republicans think foreign space programs are at least a somewhat serious threat. But Democrats disagree. Only one in three Democrats say those programs pose a serious threat.

Republicans are also more than twice as likely as Democrats to think more should be done to protect U.S. space-based assets. 47% of Republicans think that, compared with only 19% of Democrats.

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Image: Getty

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