Ever since the Biden administration took over from Donald Trump, there have been talks about how the new president plans to transition some of his less-favorite government agencies. While many had signaled that the Space Force - a Trump idea and favorite - might not survive President Biden’s axe, the opposite has actually been the case.
Back in February, the Biden administration confirmed to news sources that the 46th President would not be doing away with the Space Force. Speaking at a press conference, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed that the administration would not revise the decision to establish a Space Force and that they would defer to Congress on any changes to the agency.
Will He or Won’t He?
The argument over whether President Biden will cancel the Space Force was entirely warranted. When President Trump announced the initiative a little over a year ago, many immediately believed it would not last. The Space Force announcement was immediately met with scorn, with many deriding it as no more than a pointless endeavor from a president looking to earn popularity points.
However, the Space Force endured through a tumultuous first few months and managed to stabilize its operations down the line. For the first year, the military agency failed to do much - understandable, since the year saw the dawn of the coronavirus, and pretty much everyone who wasn’t essential to a role was asked to stay home.
With a short history and hardly anything to show for its existence, many began wondering whether the Space Force would even survive the first term of the Trump administration - if there was ever to be a second. When it became clear that Trump would not be returning to the White House, it was pretty much over for the Space Force.
President Biden entered the White House with full intent. He had made it clear that several of the former administration’s policies and projects would not fly under his watch. His first agenda was scrapping the border wall, which the former administration had made a cornerstone of its policies. Several other executive orders followed, putting a hold on policies and projects that the former administration had put in place.
However, the Space Force can now breathe a sigh of relief as the Biden administration has confirmed that there are no plans to scrap it. In her press conference, Psaki explained:
“They absolutely have the full support of the Biden administration, and we are not revisiting the decision to establish a Space Force. The desire of the Department of Defense to focus greater attention and resources on the growing security challenges in space has long been a bipartisan issue.”
Rebranding the Space Force
It goes without saying that the Space Force and its agendas will not be the most pressing thing on the Biden administration’s to-do list for now. The president remains focused primarily on dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and getting the American economy back to good health - issues which he appears to be making progress. The economy is showing some healthy signs once more, and there are hopes that the United States might be turning the corner on the pandemic.
With more progress on the most important fronts, there is hope that the Space Force will get a better audience for its agendas. For now, the fact that the administration won’t scrap it should be enough respite.
Following the Psaki statement, the Space Force had another boost to its image - its flag flew in tandem with that of the other military arms at the Super Bowl in Tampa, Florida. This little fact was sufficient proof that the Space Force is not a joke to many in this country. It is a significant arm of the government, and it should be taken seriously.
As news source Deadspin noted, the Space Force is a real thing - even though many people still don’t know much about what it is or what it should do.
Of course, none of this means that many won’t continue to poke fun at the Space Force and even question the basis of its existence. As the military arm focuses on building its brand and setting itself in the first few years, fighting through the mockery and bad press is sure to be a significant challenge.
The Biden administration could also help with that. Vice President Kamala Harris confirmed that she would lead the National Space Council. The group, which Trump resurrected, will focus on several issues - including the sustainable development of commercial spaceflight and the “advancement of peaceful normals and behaviors in space.”
Officials are currently searching for a secretary for the new council, with senior administration officials confirming that efforts have been underway for a while now. There is no timeline for the council’s first meeting, but the development is a welcome one nonetheless.