Space Force Just Might Be A Necessary Step

Space Force Just Might Be A Necessary Step

Space Force Just Might Be A Necessary Step

Yesterday, at Joint Base Andrews, President Donald Trump signed the order for the creation of the U.S. Space Force, when he signed the National Defense Authorization Act. The first new military branch in about 70 years, it joints the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard. When I first heard this idea back in March, 2018, I thought the President had lost his darn mind. After further reading and thought, a separate space branch may be necessary.

About 30 seconds after Trump first announced the idea of a space force, the jokes started to explode on social media. Stars & Stripes has a pretty good compilation of them here. And, at first blush the idea is hysterical. Plus, we have NASA, right? Well, NASA is there for space exploration. Although NASA was tasked with Muslim outreach by President Obama in July, 2010, the actual Mission Statement from NASA states:

We will be at the forefront of exploration and science. We will develop and transfer cutting-edge technologies in aeronautics and space. We will establish a permanent human presence in space.

As we pursue our mission, we will enrich our Nation’s society and economy. We will contribute to a better life for this and future generations.

In the longer term, it is our goal to undertake bold and noble challenges–exciting future programs, such as the return of humans to the Moon and human missions to Mars, which stir the imagination and fall within our and our international partners’ technical and financial grasp.

NASA, then, is about science and exploration for the betterment of all mankind.

The United States Air Force has had a Space Command since 1982. As I read through the history and Mission Statement, I realized that its a hot mess. Read these paragraphs and you will see:

In the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the president directed military action against Afghanistan and Iraq. AFSPC provided extensive space-based support to the U.S. Center Command commander in areas of communications; positioning, navigation and timing; meteorology; and warning. IN 2005, the Air Force expanded its mission areas to include cyberspace. In concert with this, the Air Staff assigned responsibility for conducting cyberspace operations to AFSPC through Twenty-fourth Air Force, which was activated in August 2009.

In order to reinvigorate the Air Force’s nuclear mission, Headquarters U.S. Air Force activated Air Force Global Strike Command to consolidate all nuclear forces under one command. Along with this, AFSPC transferred its ICBM forces to the new command in December 2009.

And, that’s just two paragraphs. I don’t know much about the Air Force, but that statement seems to be completely unfocused. The U.S. Space Force must have a narrow focus and specific mission. Specific, measurable, achievable and compatible. SMAK.

You see, the problem is our global frenemies. All of them, specifically, China and RUSSIA, but also India, the Ukraine, France, North Korea. The United States must own the battlefield. All battlefields. Air, land, sea and space. We must know what our friends and enemies know and be two moves ahead.

Everything we do is reliant on our satellites. Telecommunications, global positioning, weather and many more. Here is a fairly complete list. In January, 2019, China used it’s space program to destroy one of it’s own satellites. The media reporting was all on the dangerous debris. The Council on Foreign Relations reported on the truly more dangerous aspects of the Anti-Satellite (ASAT) weapons.

By demonstrating the ability to use an ASAT weapon, China shows off its growing military might in space to its neighbors and the world. Most importantly, from the U.S. perspective, China’s capacity to destroy satellites means it can target an American military weakness: the reliance on satellites for intelligence gathering and the operations of high-precision weaponry. A nation with the capability to destroy satellites can also threaten to severely disturb essential daily functions—from financial transactions to telephone communication to power grids—controlled by timing signals sent by global positioning satellites (GPS). “We could be propelled back into the nineteenth century” by such a disruption, says William C. Martel, a professor of international security studies at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a former member of the U.S. Air Force Scientific Advisory Board.

I don’t know about you, but I am strictly a 21st century kind of girl. I have zero romantic notions about the 19th century.

So the argument for the Space Force is that the Force will be narrowly focused on protection of the satellites and observant of any activities by any foreign actors. The first Chief of Operations is Air Force General John Raymond, currently head of the Air Force Space Command. Here General Raymond presented a “Greater Issues” talk at The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina.

As Nina wrote about when Vice President Mike Pence first made the announce of the Space Force, the usual leftists howled their stupidity. You can read her post here. It will be hard for Planned Parenthood to abort babies and the dark. And, if the Hogg doesn’t have access to social media, no one will here him whine. And, importantly, General Mattis came on board after some research.

All jokes aside, I think that the Space Force may be a very necessary branch and asset for the rest of our fighting forces. We are not talking about space pew pew here. We are talking about the protection of our lives as we know them.

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5 Comments
  • This is mostly a question of organization. Should military authority/responsibility is space remain under USAF, or should we have a separate Space Force? The same sorts of issues arose when USAF was formed as an independent military branch, taken from the USAAF (U.S. Army Air Forces). USN was opposed, and also opposed to the Army’s development of airpower prior to WW II, which may have contributed to the catastrophe at Pearl Harbor and America’s difficulties in the first years of the war (See this: https://www.amazon.com/Case-Against-Admirals-Unified-Command/dp/0548441928)

    I tend to favor the Space Force idea. The arguments against it involve procurement (USAF Space Command apparently has developed innovative methods of getting around our absurdly slow, costly, ineffective military procurement systems, and worry this will jeopardize them) and problems of integrating with air defense.

    But over the longer term, military activity in space will be a separate sphere from air defense. Hence I think we ought to start now.

    The next world war will be fought mostly in space and cyberspace. Russia already has had a Space Force for years. China is developing one.

    And there’s no such place as “the Ukraine,” except in the mind of Putin. Слава Україні!

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  • GWB says:

    that statement seems to be completely unfocused
    No, it’s the actual history of “Space Command”. We have been trying to put together a “space force” of some kind for 25 years. The first one was just managing all the satellite stuff – they handled the ground stations, shifted orbits, etc. Then they tried to make it more of a thing. Because there was no legal authorization for a new branch, there were turf wars (naturally).

    I’m glad to see it authorized as a full branch. Maybe now they can focus on their mission.

  • GWB says:

    Oh, and I’m still a big fan of the Rods From God concept. Station satellites with big, heavy, rods in them, with advanced seeker heads on them. “Advanced” because they need to be able to survive re-entry. Then, when needed, you simply drop them from orbit on an enemy target. Big bada-boom. And no fallout. Well, very little, since there will be some plasma generated by the sheer energy involved. I’ve long thought that a few of those dropped on Iran’s nuke research facilities would go a long way toward stopping nuclear proliferation.
    (And, hardly anyone could actually detect such a benign thing as a little rock falling out of orbit….)

    “What? Us? No…. The Russians and the Chinese would have seen a launch from a sub or the airplanes flying in. No, couldn’t have been us. I think they just did the wrong thing and one of their prototypes went BOOM. This is why little countries like Iran and Pakistan shouldn’t have nukes….”

  • GWB says:

    And I have come up with one REALLY important question:
    When stationed in space, will the Space Force members be CONUS? Or OCONUS?

    Oh, also:
    What’s the per diem rate in LEO?

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