Tag: space force

Space Force is Now Part of the Joint Chiefs

Article by J. W. Sotak                                       December 18, 2020                                       (sofrep.com)

• On December 18th, the Pentagon announced General John Raymond, Chief of Space Operations, will join the Joint Chiefs of Staff bringing the total war cabinet members to eight. General Raymond took his seat at the table of America’s most senior uniformed leaders on December 20th. “You’ve treated me like a member ever since [the law was signed],” General Raymond said during a ceremony at the Pentagon. “I can’t thank you enough. I can’t thank my teammates enough. It’s a real privilege to sit at this table.”

• The Joint Chiefs are the primary advisory body on all military matters, reporting to the President, Secretary of Defense, the Homeland Security Council, and the National Security Council. The incorporation of the Space Force underscores the new focus on space and cybersecurity, and suggests that it will be responsible for more than just monitoring satellites and overseeing scientific space missions.

• “This is an incredibly important organization for the United States military and for the United States as a country,” said General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. “We recognize [space] clearly as a warfighting domain. And we also know that we, the United States, we’ve got to maintain capabilities in that domain if we are going to continue to deter a great power war.”

• When the Joint Chiefs of Staff was created in 1942, it comprised the chairman and the chiefs of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force. In 1978, the Commandant of the Marine Corps was added, followed by the chief of the National Guard Bureau in 2012.

• While the DoD reports that Space Force will to expand to roughly 20,000 servicemembers in the coming years, it would still be only half the size of the Coast Guard, with roughly 40,000 active-duty servicemembers. The Army, the largest branch, had over 450,000 active duty members and another 280,000 in the Reserves according to a 2019 report.

• Space Force is technically a Department of the Air Force. Space Force will rely on the Air Force for “more than 75 percent of its enabling functions” including “logistics, base operating support, civilian personnel management, business systems, IT support, and audit agencies,” allowing the military branch to remain agile, avoid duplicative staff roles, keep costs down, and concentrate on their missions.

• Skeptics and critics had relegated Space Force to President Trump’s pet project. But as the mission of the Space Force has begun to solidify, so has its credibility. As a Space Force video states: “When foreign powers can build bases on the dark side of the Moon, when private companies are inventing a new economy beyond our planet, we need to stay one step ahead of the future.”

• The addition of General Raymond to the Joint Chiefs, Space Force isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

 

        The Joint Chiefs of Staff

The Pentagon announced today that the Joint Chiefs of Staff has been expanded to include General John Raymond, Chief of Space Operations. This brings the war cabinet total to eight members. The decision to enlarge the group was signed into law earlier this year, and while General Raymond won’t be officially added to the roster of America’s most senior uniformed leaders until the one-year anniversary of the formation of Space Force on Sunday, December 20, he says he has already been received by his peers.

General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs

“You’ve treated me like a member ever since [the law was signed],” General Raymond said during the ceremony at the Pentagon. “I can’t thank you enough. I can’t thank my teammates enough. It’s a real privilege to sit at this table.”

The Joint Chiefs occupy a critical role in national security. They are the primary advisory body on all military matters and report to the president, secretary of defense, the Homeland Security Council, and the National Security Council. The incorporation of the Space Force underscores the new focus on space and cybersecurity. It suggests that the newest military branch will be responsible for more than just monitoring satellites and overseeing scientific space missions.

“We recognize it clearly as a warfighting domain. And we also know that we, the United States, we’ve got to maintain capabilities in that domain if we are going to continue to deter a great power war,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Mark Milley said during the induction ceremony.

“This is an incredibly important organization for the United States military and for the United States as a country,” he added.

At present, the Space Force is still relatively small. While the DoD reports that it is slated to expand to roughly 20,000 servicemembers in the coming years, even at that number it would be half the size of the Coast Guard, the smallest of the military branches with roughly 40,000 active-duty servicemembers. The Army, the largest branch, had over 450,000 active duty members and another 280,000 in the Reserves at last count according to a 2019 report.

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What Happens to Space Force After Trump?

Article by Samantha Masunaga                                       December 15, 2020                                     (latimes.com)

• Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond says “proliferating technology” and “competitive interests” have changed space from a benign environment to “one in which we anticipate all aspects of human endeavor — including warfare.” The goals of Space Force include developing new capabilities, increasing cooperation and enabling a “lean and agile service.” Whether Space Force can achieve that mission is an open question. While Trump champions the initiative, he has done little to ensure it has the funding, staffing and authority to succeed. When he exits the White House next month, the Space Force’s trajectory remains unclear.

• Created last year as the first new armed service since 1947, Space Force has gained control of some space operations, but many others are still spread throughout the nation’s other military branches. Space Force is still technically part of the Air Force, just as the Marine Corps is part of the Navy. The Air Force’s Space Command is responsible for supporting and maintaining satellites for GPS, missile warning and nuclear command and control, as well as paying United Launch Alliance and SpaceX to launch national security satellites. “The whole point of this was to consolidate,” said Todd Harrison, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank. The US Army, US Navy, and especially the US Air Force all conduct space operations.

• Consolidating these disparate programs into the Space Force has been slow. Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Patrick Air Force Base in Florida will change their names and become the first two Space Force installations. Eventually, all Air Force space missions are supposed to follow suit. But there has been no progress on integrating the Army‘s or Navy’s space missions.

• The Pentagon Space Force budget is lean. With about 2,100 personnel as of November 1st, Space Force commanded a budget of $40 million in 2020. Meanwhile, the Air Force has more than 325,000 active duty personnel and a budget of $168 billion for 2020. ($14B of that was designated to the Space Force.) The Space Force will probably always be the smallest military service, Harrison said. “Space is more dictated by capabilities than mass,” he said. Space Force “shouldn’t try to organize itself in the way of these much larger services because that’s not what it is. That’s not what it’s going to grow into.” For fiscal year 2021, the Space Force is requesting a budget transfer from the Air Force of $15.3 billion. Over time, as space programs from other services start consolidating into the Space Force, their budgets should follow.

• But David Deptula, a retired Air Force lieutenant general and dean of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies think tank, says that Space Force’s 2020 resources aren’t enough to carry out its mission of organizing, training and equipping forces to deter or defeat threats in space. US intelligence officials have warned that China and Russia have discussed developing new electronic warfare capabilities, which could have implications for U.S. military satellite communications or GPS satellite interference. “The nation is facing some very significant threats in the space realm,” says Deptula.

• “Space Force really needed to be stood up to remain competitive with the very real threats coming from our nearest adversaries,” said James Marceau, managing director of aerospace and defense at consulting firm Alvarez & Marsal, who has also served as a senior advisor to the Pentagon on major strategies including the Space Force. “We can’t afford to neglect that domain.”

• As the strategic role of satellites came to the forefront in the early 1990s, congressional leaders and military officials, including former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, considered consolidating space operations. In 2016, Representatives Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) and Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) began advocating for a “space corps.” But there wasn’t enough support in the U.S. Senate for the proposal. Then, in March 2018, Trump seized upon the idea and suggested creating a ‘Space Force’ in a speech to Marines at Air Station Miramar in San Diego. (Cooper would later say Trump “tried to hijack” the idea of the space corps.) Five month later, Vice President Mike Pence announced the creation of Space Force. It was included in the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act and signed into law in December 2019.

• At this point, it’s “highly unlikely” that the Biden administration would try to eliminate the Space Force, Harrison said. It would require a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, as well as the president’s signature, he said. “I have not heard anyone seriously contemplating the idea of disestablishing it,” Harrison said. “It hasn’t even gotten a chance to get started yet.”

• “You’ve already transferred thousands of individuals into the Space Force,” said Doug Loverro, former deputy assistant secretary of Defense for space policy. “Can you imagine pulling the rug out from under them?” General Raymond says that he met with the Biden transition team in early December, and the conversation “was good”. So it appears that Space Force will be sticking around.

 

President Trump has a penchant for grandiose promises that go unfulfilled. So when he announced a

          Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond

plan to establish a Space Force, there was some skepticism.

Then-Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), ranking member on a Senate committee that deals with aviation and space, disliked the idea of consolidating space programs from the other military branches, saying at the time there were “too many important missions at stake” to “rip the Air Force apart.”

The idea of the new service became fodder for late-night comedians and a Netflix sitcom.
The Space Force, however, was not merely a presidential musing. Created last year as the first new armed service since 1947, it was established with the mission of protecting U.S. interests in space from potential adversaries, be they rival nations or gobs of space junk.

 Representative Jim Cooper

Whether it can achieve that mission is an open question. Though Trump champions the initiative, he has done little to ensure it has the funding, staffing and authority to succeed. When he exits the White House next month, the Space Force’s trajectory remains unclear.

            Todd Harrison

The Space Force has gained control of some space operations, but many others are still spread throughout the nation’s other military branches.

Within the Defense Department, the Air Force has the lion’s share of space programs and budget for space operations. It’s responsible for supporting and maintaining satellites for GPS, missile warning and nuclear command and control, as well as paying United Launch Alliance and SpaceX to launch national security satellites.

The Army and Navy also have their own space operations.

Consolidating these disparate programs into the Space Force has been slow. Some Air Force missions have transferred to Space Force control or are in the process of doing so — last week, Vice President Mike Pence announced that Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Patrick Air Force Base in Florida would change their names and become the first two Space Force installations. Eventually, all Air Force space missions are supposed to follow suit. But there has been no progress on integrating the Army‘s or Navy’s space missions.

 Representative Mike Rogers

“The last thing you want … after all of this reorganization and creating a new military service is to continue to have the fragmentation of our space programs and space organizations across the military,” said Todd Harrison, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank. “The whole point of this was to consolidate.”

           David Deptula

Compared with the budgets and personnel of the other branches of the U.S. military, the Space Force is lean. And technically it’s part of the Air Force, just as the Marine Corps is part of the Navy.

Consisting of about 2,100 people as of Nov. 1, the Space Force commanded a budget of $40 million for its operations and maintenance in fiscal year 2020.

Meanwhile, the Air Force has more than 325,000 active duty personnel and a budget of $168 billion for fiscal 2020. (The Air Force designated almost $14 billion of that for space capabilities. These projects have since become part of the Space Force.)

The Space Force will probably always be the smallest military service, Harrison said.

“Space is more dictated by capabilities than mass,” he said. The Space Force “shouldn’t try to organize itself in the way of these much larger services because that’s not what it is. That’s not what it’s going to grow into.”

          Doug Loverro

But the Space Force’s 2020 resources aren’t enough to carry out its mission of organizing, training and equipping forces to deter or defeat threats in space, said David Deptula, a retired Air Force lieutenant general and dean of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies think tank.

For fiscal year 2021, the Space Force is requesting a budget transfer from the Air Force of $15.3 billion. And over time, as space programs from other services start consolidating into the Space Force, their budgets should follow.

“The nation is facing some very significant threats in the space realm,” Deptula said. “Let’s make sure that service is set up for success.”

U.S. intelligence officials have warned that China and Russia have discussed developing new electronic warfare capabilities, which could have implications for U.S. military satellite communications or GPS satellite interference. In 2007, China tested an anti-satellite weapon and destroyed one of its own inactive weather satellites.

“Space Force really needed to be stood up to remain competitive with the very real threats coming from our nearest adversaries,” said James Marceau, managing director of aerospace and defense at consulting firm Alvarez & Marsal, who has also served as a senior advisor to the Pentagon on major strategies including the Space Force. “We can’t afford to neglect that domain.”

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Will Biden Cede Space Preeminence to the Chinese?

Article by Douglas MacKinnon                                December 12, 2020                                   (thehill.com)

• On December 9th, Vice President Mike Pence addressed an assembly of the National Space Council, and to introduce the NASA astronauts selected for the Artemis Program’s return of humans to the Moon. During his speech, Pence made mention of the growing threat posed to the United States by China’s militarized space program. “China is increasingly emerging as a serious competitor in space,” said Pence. “As the world witnessed, China recently landed an unmanned craft on the moon and, for the first time, robotically raised the red flag of Communist China on that magnificent desolation.”

• “China is increasingly emerging as a serious competitor in space,” said Pence. “In four short years (ie: Trump’s administration), America is leading in space once again.” The reality is that China emerged as a serious competitor well over a decade ago, becoming the preeminent space-faring nation on Earth. The Trump administration has been forced to play catch-up after the setbacks in the space program enacted under his previous administration. And now that Joe Biden may be assuming the White House in January, China knows that the US is could to slip further behind.

• Virtually every incoming President has tended to scale back or dismantle the space policies enacted by his predecessor. When Barack Obama replaced George W. Bush, his administration oversaw the shutdown of America’s ability to send astronauts into space on US spacecraft. We came to rely on the Russians to get Americans to the mostly U.S.-built International Space Station – at a cost of $90 million per astronaut.

• The political and military leadership of China are thrilled that an incoming Biden administration, which despises Trump, would put Trump’s space policies – such as the Space Force, the return of American astronauts to the Moon, and the very existence of the National Space Council – squarely in the crosshairs of Team Biden. Much of Biden’s NASA transition team is led and staffed by Obama-era retreads who have made it abundantly clear that they favor redirecting NASA and Space Force dollars toward domestic programs and fighting climate change.

• Such stated goals are music to the ears of the People’s Republic of China. Every US tax dollar directed away from the American space program is a victory for China and their ultimate endgame. China understands its greatest competition, and its greatest threat, is the United States. They look for any opportunity to create an advantage over the US to further its goal to dominate the cislunar theater from Earth to the Moon. Recent news of the Chinese government seeking to compromise certain US politicians is evidence of China’s long-term strategy to usurp American power.

• You can be sure the Chinese leadership is hopeful that Biden will not only dismantle all that Trump has done regarding space, but will relegate the US space program to a back burner. In this case, historic precedent is on the side of the Chinese.

 

This past week, Vice President Mike Pence, in his capacity as chair of the National Space Council, addressed a meeting of that group at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Although his speech was rather generic and filled with too much partisan praise of President Trump, he did manage to briefly address a critically important topic: the growing threat posed to the United States by China’s militarized space program.

But, as they say in the news business, even with that warning, Pence still managed to “bury the lead.” In remarks that stretched almost two hours, he spoke about the threat from China for only one brief paragraph.

Said Pence: “China is increasingly emerging as a serious competitor in space, just as they are in other areas of the global economy and to the strategic interest of the United States. As the world witnessed, China recently landed an unmanned craft on the moon and, for the first time, robotically raised the red flag of Communist China on that magnificent desolation.”

The political and military leadership directing China’s space program must have burst out laughing when they heard or read Pence’s assessment that “China is increasingly emerging as a serious competitor in space,” or when, later in the speech, he declared: “In four short years, America is leading in space once again — it’s true.”

In fact, China “emerged” as a “serious competitor” well over a decade ago.

China knows it is the preeminent space-faring nation on Earth, and that the United States may be about to slip much further behind them with the coming change in presidential administrations.

For all those in the United States who understand the critical need for the United States to have robust civilian and military space programs, almost every presidential election becomes a recurring nightmare realized.

The main reason is that virtually every incoming president tends to scale back or dismantle the space policies enacted by his predecessor. The fact that the “predecessor” in this case will be Donald Trump, who is despised by much of the incoming Biden administration, puts Trump’s space policies and programs squarely in the “cancel it” crosshairs of Team Biden — policies such as the Space Force, a return of American astronauts to the moon, and the very existence of the National Space Council itself.

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