Robert Zubrin hits the nail squarely on the head in his op-ed of Jan. 19 [“U.S. Space Supremacy Now Critical,” Commentary, page 19]. In a world where the United States is surrounded by those who wish us ill and vastly outnumber us, superior technology is our only hope.

As Dr. Zubrin says, we have the capability to do it. What we lack is will and leadership. We have a weak, posturing president. Fortunately he will be gone in a couple of years, but our weakness will remain. We must rebuild our strength but at the next level of technology. Unfortunately, we may not be able to do that because of politics and self-interest. We cannot streamline or realign because some senators and representatives will see it as a threat to their status quo. Keeping the buggy whip factory open in Podunk is a lot more important than strengthening our nation.

To add to the problem, the conventional aerospace industry has lost its way completely. The last two aircraft developed by our pre-eminent fighter plane builder have taken decades to develop (Lockheed Skunk Works’ Kelly Johnson must be spinning in his grave). We don’t have decades to spend.

We must shake up the status quo, dump the fat and work like we were in a war, because we are.

James French
Laguna Hills, California