Above is the cover of Book 2 of my original trilogy, it kind of touches on today’s topic.
So I’ve been thinking about SpaceX lately and the possible human expansion into space, and the thought drifted into my head about the US’s new Space Force, which seems to still be more of a paper exercise than an actual 5th branch of the US military.
I think how they envision things at the moment is that the Space Force takes over a lot of what the USAF’s old Space Command did, i.e. tracking earthbound threats and keeping an eye on hostile satellites, etc.
I wonder how far they have thought this all through. Because you can take this an awful long way, actually. As in light years-far.
Alright, one thing that is perfectly clear is that we are not going to join up into some type of pan-human Federation anytime soon. Yeah, it would be really cool if we quit killing each other, but it’s not going to happen. We are a homicidal bunch, I don’t think war and violence will ever end.
But let’s not go down that fairly dreary chain of thought.
Instead, let’s take a look at how an infant Space Force might dispatch, uh, Space Rangers or something when potential waves of colonists start hitting Mars. Now, we’re not talking about a force structure as discussed in my first trilogy, a fully-mature Colonial Army. No, we’re talking about something that’s literally never been done before, although it’s been discussed at great length in sci-fi.
What sort of armed force do you actually need on Mars?
My first, knee-jerk reaction is to say you don’t need one. But then my experience with human nature whispers in my ear. Yes, you do need some kind of cop, peacekeeper, Ranger, something.
I can’t even think what you would call such a person, so let’s stick with Ranger and leave out the “Space.” It sounds dorky.
The first colonists would probably be selected from the willing elite, and they would be Earth’s best. At least I think so. But have any of you ever been in a crowd of people and not met at least a few crazies? There would be crazies. Maybe nuts with multi-PHDs, but nuts and crazies nonetheless.
Someone would have to deal with them. Doesn’t it make sense to have the government representation be a multi-tasker and be a Space Force Ranger? I am thinking of their qualifications, these very first space soldiers.
First, they would have to be proficient in low-g to zero-g combat. So there would have to be a school set up for that. This would be entirely new. Also, it might not hurt for at least their leadership to be a full astronaut with rank equivalent to whoever the mission commander would be.
Then you could tick off all the old familiar blocks.
- Fully physically qualified
- A comprehensive psych board
- Ranger thru Delta background, or allied equivalent. The first Rangers would have to be hyper-elite.
- Meets same basic criteria as qualified astronauts or colonists
- Strong mechanical or medical background
These would be the very basics in my book. And oh yes, be up to leaving on a one-way mission with no prospect of return and being the HMFIC of anything military related while hundreds of millions of kilometers from home.
This would demand a truly unique Ranger, a new breed of soldier and leader. A person who can’t quit, and will retire never seeing blue skies again.
Speaking of retirement, I wonder what an aged Ranger would spend his or her retirement pay on, on distant Mars or elsewhere?
Well, maybe the scenery changes, but my bet is they’ll spend it on beer or spacebrew.
Love to hear your thoughts on this.