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Future Military

I find myself wondering the strangest things…

It is, I suppose, a hazard of possessing an inquisitive mind and, of course, being a writer, even if I haven’t written much lately.  But, I find my mind lingering on the certain ideas.  One of those ideas is what the military will look like in the future.  And, I don’t mean in the future a dozen years from now, but in the far future, when we are a regularly space-faring race.
Oh, yes, I’m an optimist, too.

It is my sincerest hope that we eventually make use of our entire solar system, not just the one planet on which we were born.  Obviously, to do that will mean that we, humankind, will need to get off this planet and into space.  And, we’ll need to do it with the regularity that we travel from continent to continent now.  Whether we’re mining the asteroid belt or Mars or the Moon or even the moons of our gas giants, we’ll have to get there via space and, naturally, space ships.
I don’t suppose we will have become a world government by then, mainly because so many people seem opposed to that.  So, I would assume that we will take our militaries into space with us, to protect our various nationalistic interests.  But how will that change things?

In the future, will it be the Navy or the Air Force that is our “space fleet”?  Certainly, the majority of science-fiction writers seem to agree that it will be a Naval force of some kind that protects our interests in space, but I can see it going other ways, too.  Will the Army, as such, continue to exist?  Or, extending the idea of the Navy being our space carriers and pilots, will all our ground forces become Marines?  By definition, Marines are a kind of extension of the Navy, after all.  At least, the United States Marine Corps is, according to Wikipedia, “responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly.”  And, it is considered “a component of the United States Department of the Navy”, by civilian leadership “often working closely with U.S. naval forces for training, transportation, and logistic purposes”, even if they are a separate branch in the actual military leadership structure.
So, following that train of thought, if our space-based military becomes, essentially, a “space Navy”, would that make all ground troops “space Marines”?  Certainly, there are authors and movie-makers who would seem to think so.

But, would the Army and the Air Force go so quietly to their demise?  What would become of them?  Would they get absorbed in some way by the other two branches?  And, what would become of the Coast Guard or the Department of Homeland Security?  How would those areas change?

These are the things that keep me occupied when I’m in meetings I find boring or traffic or waiting in lines
What about you?  What sorts of speculations keep your mind occupied during “down time”?  And how many have made it into your writing?

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