In the early 1960’s America was in crises.
The Soviets was beating us in the space race having put up Sputnik, the first artificial satellite, and the government worried they would win the so-called space race.
President John Kennedy proposed a massive undertaking so that the US could put be first to put a man on the Moon, which was seen as a national security issue.
In an address to Congress he said:
First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish. We propose to accelerate the development of the appropriate lunar space craft. We propose to develop alternate liquid and solid fuel boosters, much larger than any now being developed, until certain which is superior. We propose additional funds for other engine development and for unmanned explorations–explorations which are particularly important for one purpose which this nation will never overlook: the survival of the man who first makes this daring flight. But in a very real sense, it will not be one man going to the moon–if we make this judgment affirmatively, it will be an entire nation. For all of us must work to put him there.
Special Message to the Congress on Urgent National Needs
And in a speech at Rice Stadium in 1962 he said:
We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.
Rice Stadium Sept 12 1962
The goal of being first to the Moon led to a massive national project involving thousands of people and billions of dollars and on July 20th 1969, Neil Armstrong officially made the US the winner of the Space Race.
The Apollo project wasn’t the first national project to develop something new in the interests of national security.
During World War II, the federal government hired thousands of people and spent billions of dollars and came up with the Atom bomb within 3 years. While the use of the bomb is debatable, the point is a massive effort led by the government help address an immediate problem.
Starting in the 1950’s, massive federal spending created the Interstate Highway System that was not only for economic development but also seen as having national security implications.
Why can’t we do the same for the dependence on foreign oil?
I’m not talking about welfare for oil companies or more drilling, but a massive research and development program to come up with a host of alternative energy systems for transportation, home, and business use.
The US uses 26% of the world’s oil production and it is much higher than it was during the gas crises of the 1970’s.
It has to stop and it can be stopped if we want to protect our country from our enemies.