Retired NASA astronaut and commander of the International Space Station Scott Kelly ripped Donald Trump’s proposed military “space force,” calling it a waste of money that could jeopardize peaceful space exploration.
“It’s not clear to me what the purpose is of this new branch of the military, which is going to be incredibly expensive,” Kelly said on MSNBC on Friday. “My big concern here is that space has been a place for us to work in a peaceful manner. Changing that with not any clear reason at this point is ... hard to understand.”
Kelly also pointed out that space weapons are restricted by international treaties that the U.S. “has been a party to since the 1960s.”
Trump announced in June that he was directing the Pentagon to create a “space force” military branch. He touted his new force at his Pennsylvania rally Thursday night.
Trump has characterized control of space as a national security issue, saying he does not want “China and Russia and other countries leading us.”
In March he told a Marine Corps audience that “space is a war-fighting domain, just like the land, air and sea.”
Many critics have said such a branch would duplicate several services already provided by other military branches, which Kelly agreed with.
Kelly suggested the president instead focus on the ongoing cyberwar with Russia instead of imagined futuristic space confrontations.
“How about we deal with the war we’re currently in? The cyberwar that is trying to affect our democracy, the thing that’s most important to the United States, which is free and fair elections,” Kelly said.
“We’re currently in a war right now. We should worry about that one and worry about war in space later.”
Check out the rest of the interview above.