Tag: Russia

Defense Officials Highlight Space Force’s Achievements, Path Forward

Article by Charles Pope                                     October 29, 2020                                  (spaceforce.mil)

• On October 28th, Department of the Air Force Secretary, Barbara M. Barrett, described in stark terms how the shifting security environment in space is validating the nation’s new Space Force military branch. “Increasingly, free and open access to space is under threat. Though the United States will not be the aggressor in space, we will, we must, build a Space Force to defend our space interests,” Barrett said in a virtual address at Space Symposium 365, an influential gathering of space advocates from government, commerce and defense sponsored by the Space Foundation.

• Barrett was joined by Chief of Space Operations, Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, highlighting the mounting threats in space. “Last year, Russia maneuvered an ‘inspector satellite’ into an orbit threateningly close to a sensitive US satellite. And just two months ago, China launched and recovered a reusable space plane … suspiciously similar to our own space plane, the X-37B.”

• As space is becoming more crowded and contested, it became necessary to establish Space Force as “purpose built” to meet its missions and responsibilities in space. “We set out for this first year to invent the force. And I use that term ‘invent’ purposefully because we were given an opportunity to start with a clean sheet of paper and not do business the way we’ve done in the past,” said Raymond.

• “On all fronts—on organization, on personnel, on doctrine, on budget—we have tried to think differently and be an incubator for change across the department, while delivering goodness and value to our nation,” Raymond continued. The goal is to form a “lean and agile” digital service that, while the smallest of all the military services, delivers on a much bigger scale. This demands a “forward leaning, forward looking strategy.”

• The result is a command structure that fights bloat and inefficiency in which the field command organizational structure has “collapsed two layers of command”. Efficiency is also displayed in an acquisition process “that delegates authority down to the lowest level, shortening the gap between approval authority and those who are actually doing the work,” said Raymond. “Big organizations are slow and we don’t want to be slow.”

• As Space Force approaches its first anniversary on December 20th, the service is evolving from establishing foundational elements of policies and doctrines to actually ‘inventing’ the force. Today, the Space Force numbers more than 2,000 men and women. At full strength, Space Force is expected to have about 16,000 people. The work ahead is challenging, with a relentless need to go fast. Other goals include revising the acquisition system and re-evaluating how information and hardware are classified. “We don’t deter (aggressor nations) from their negative behavior if they don’t know what our (military hardware) capabilities are,” said Barrett. “We reveal to deter, and conceal to win.”

• As the session came to a close, Barrett suggested that perhaps the biggest Space Force achievement to date is the public’s increasing understanding that space is important and it must be protected. “A year ago, Space Force was an idea,” said Barrett. “There’s been a big mindset change, and we’ve got to build on that … to achieve what people now agree needs to be done.”

 

         Gen. John “Jay” Raymond

ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) — Department of the Air Force Secretary, Barbara M. Barrett, offered an upbeat assessment Oct. 28 of the Space Force’s development while also describing in stark terms how the shifting security environment in space is validating the nation’s newest branch of the military.

“Increasingly, free and open access to space is under threat. Though the United States will not be the aggressor in space, we will, we must, build a Space Force to defend our space interests,” Barrett said in a virtual address at Space Symposium 365, an influential gathering of space advocates from government, commerce and defense sponsored by the Space Foundation.

                  Barbara M. Barrett

Barrett, who was joined by Chief of Space Operations, Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, underscored that assertion by highlighting activities and threats in space that in the past had been given less emphasis.

“Last year, Russia maneuvered an ‘inspector satellite’ into an orbit threateningly close to a sensitive U.S. satellite. And just two months ago, China launched and recovered a reusable space plane … suspiciously similar to our own space plane, the X-37B.”

That environment, and the fact that space is becoming more crowded and contested, coincide with the creation of the first new and independent branch of the military since 1947. Together, Barrett and Raymond provided a detailed status report on the Space Force as it approaches its first anniversary and looks to the future.

“We set out for this first year to invent the force. And I use that term ‘invent’ purposefully because we were given an opportunity to start with a clean sheet of paper and not do business the way we’ve done in the past,” Raymond said, describing the Space Force as “purpose built” to meet its missions and responsibilities in space.

“On all fronts—on organization, on personnel, on doctrine, on budget—we have tried to think differently and be an incubator for change across the department, while delivering goodness and value to our nation,” he said.

The goal, Raymond said, is to form a “lean and agile” digital service that, while the smallest of all the military services, delivers on a much bigger scale. This demands a “human capital development strategy … a forward leaning, forward looking strategy.”

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Space Force’s Gen. Raymond Charts Service’s Galactic Mission

Article by David Vergun                                  October 22, 2020                                 (defense.gov)

• “A war that begins or extends into space will be fought over great distances at tremendous speeds, posing significant challenges.” This is among the remarks that Space Force Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond (pictured above) provided at the virtual Air Force Rapid Sustainment Office Advanced Manufacturing Olympics on October 22nd. Noting the challenges of the ‘Great Power’ competition with Russia and China, Raymond outlined Space Force’s role in the National Defense Strategy. “Today, we’re entering a defining period for this country in space. Our nation is leading an expansive spirit of space exploration and experimentation.”

• Space Force’s area of responsibility extends from 100 kilometers above Earth’s surface to the outer edge of the universe. On-orbit capabilities move at speeds greater than 17,500 miles per hour. Direct ascent and satellite missiles can reach low-Earth orbit in a matter of minutes. Electronic attack and directed-energy weapons move at the speed of light.

• Raymond said his guidance to Space Force’s military professionals is to be bold, innovative; use the outstanding talent the service has; and be lean, agile and fast. “Since establishment, we have slashed bureaucracy, delegated authority and enhanced accountability,” he said. Space Force is working with industry and academia to find the “disruptive innovators and incubators for change.” (‘Disruptive’ means innovations that are new, and not simply upgrades or retooling old technologies.) “Today our space capabilities are, by far, the best in the world,” said Raymond. “But they were built for an uncontested domain.”

• The U.S. needs a more defensible architecture, one that is equipped for offensive operations should deterrence fail. All of this capability has to come at an affordable price. Advanced manufacturing is rapidly transforming the way space capabilities are designed and delivered. Spacecraft fuel tanks, antennas, structures and engines are already being produced via techniques with materials uniquely tailored for space. “These technologies allow us to move rapidly from capability design to prototyping,” said Raymond.

• Raymond points out that America is a spacefaring nation and has long led military, civil and commercial space centers. “Today, we’re entering a defining period for this country in space. Our nation is leading an expansive spirit of space exploration and experimentation. And we are strongest when space is secure, stable and accessible to enterprising Americans for scientific, economic and security interests.”

 

The chief of space operations and commander of U.S. Space Command discussed challenges the U.S. is facing in space and the Space Force’s efforts to address them.

Space Force Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, provided remarks from the Pentagon today at the virtual Air Force Rapid Sustainment Office Advanced Manufacturing Olympics today.

“A war that begins or extends into space will be fought over great distances at tremendous speeds, posing significant challenges,” said Raymond, noting Great Power competition with Russia and China, outlined in the National Defense Strategy, which could pose future challenges.

Spacecom’s area of responsibility extends from 100 kilometers above Earth’s surface to the outer edge of the universe, he noted.

Today, we’re entering a defining period for this country in space. Our nation is leading an expansive spirit of space exploration and experimentation.”
Space Force Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, commander, U.S. Space Command

On-orbit capabilities move at speeds greater than 17,500 miles per hour. Direct ascent and satellite missiles can reach low-Earth orbit in a matter of minutes, Raymond said. Electronic attack and directed-energy weapons move at the speed of light.

In response, Raymond provided a galactic roadmap to what his service is doing. He said his guidance to Space Force’s space professionals at all levels is to be bold, innovative; use the outstanding talent the service has; and be lean, agile and fast.

“Since establishment, we have slashed bureaucracy, delegated authority and enhanced accountability,” he said.

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Space Force Built for War?

Article by Ryan Faith                                   October 16, 2020                                  (realcleardefense.com)

• Space Force keeps a tight lid on its military intentions. Therefore, Russian or Chinese space warfare theorists might assume that a ‘kinetic’ (ie: shooting) war could be in the works. As in the US Air Force, the purveyors of kinetic mayhem tend to be culturally dominant. And Space Force has been no exception. These kinetic mayhem purveyors present a louder, more muscular, aggressive face of the Space Force. The non-kinetic approaches to space dominance get little discussion. The overall message suggests a Space Force with a strong bias towards kinetic warfare.

• At the same time, the US Space Force does not discuss the activities of its potential foes, and publicly there’s little to suggest that US opponents are hostile and aggressive. This makes the cultural bias in Space Force towards kinetic action appear to be an itchy trigger finger, not a response to real-life aggression.

• Kinetic action in space comes with an immense risk associated with orbital debris. In 2007, China demonstrated an anti-satellite weapon, and created more than 3,000 bits of space shrapnel in space. At immense orbital speeds, an impact by even a small bit of debris can have a devastating effect. This in turn creates more orbital debris in a sort of feedback effect called the Kessler Syndrome. This in itself creates some talk of strategic deterrent to an orbital debris chain-reaction that results in unintentional mutually assured response and destruction.

• The US Space Force would probably benefit by clarifying that a kinetic response must be in response to a legitimate threat or attack. Secondly, the US has a variety of tools at its disposal to manage the escalation of a space conflict without blowing a space asset to smithereens.

• But these suggestions are just a small part of the extensive political-social-media context of space operations as the backdrop to combat operations for the foreseeable future. The reality of a space conflict today may be a matter of winning the security battle versus losing the messaging war tomorrow.

 

If I were a Russian or Chinese space warfare theorist, thinking about a future war with the United States, it might be reasonable to bet that the newly-minted U.S. Space Force was planning for a kinetic space conflict, starting on Day 1.

Understandably, the Space Force keeps a tight lid on broader discussions of its capabilities. There isn’t a lot of direct information one way or another. Without a clear understanding of what the U.S. can do, an analyst might start trying to figure out U.S. intentions.

The culture of the Space Force might still be unformed and changing; it does bear at least a family resemblance to its sister services in at least one significant respect. In the services, the purveyors of kinetic mayhem — the shooters and the killers — tend to be culturally dominant within their respective services. The Space Force has been no exception to this.

Whether or not the Space Force shooters want to or not, they present a louder, more muscular, aggressive face of the Space Force. Conversely, non-kinetic approaches to space dominance get little discussion indeed.

Between the relative boldness of the kinetic space warfare community and the comparative silence of the non-kinetic warfare practitioners, the overall message suggests a Space Force with a strong bias towards kinetic warfare.

Compounding this problem, the USSF does not speak a lot about the activities of its potential foes. In public discussion, there’s little to suggest that U.S. opponents are hostile and aggressive and that need a muscular response. Keeping malicious actions secret makes the cultural bias towards kinetic action appear spontaneous — that it is not a response to unfortunate real-life conditions, but more of an itchy trigger finger.

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