- 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 skepticism, but is now widely seen as necessary.
- However, retired astronaut
“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 skepticism 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.
“People today may not realize 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’?
The idea is part of the 2018 National Defense 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 Defense Department to submit a final plan for its structure and functions by December 31, 2018.
The new division would cost up to $13 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/NASA
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 civilization,” 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.
More from Elon Musk’s Recode appearance:
- Elon Musk says he’d ‘be very surprised’ if another company beats Tesla to fully self-driving capability
- Elon Musk says Apple doesn’t really ‘blow people’s minds’ anymore
- ‘There wasn’t some other way to do this’ – Elon Musk says ‘everyone’ at Tesla was working 100-hour weeks to ramp up Model 3 production
- Elon Musk says there’s a ‘good chance’ Ford doesn’t survive the next recession