LOL "... the Space Force is the purest expression of the branding maneuver, given the mismatch between the hype (“Mars Awaits”) and the reality (“It is imperative that the United States adapts its policies, doctrine, and capabilities to protect our interests,” as the
Don't worry, I know what is reality and fantasy. So I don't expect that the Space Force is the same as Starfleet from Star Trek, or Starship Trooper, or anything else. And I expect that the space exploration will still be at NASA jurisdiction. My question is what is the purpose of the USSF and what is it's doctrine, organization, etc.Did you ever see Starship Troopers?
The White House and Pentagon are presenting a four-pronged strategy to Congress on how the nation will fight in space in the future. This includes a Space Force as a sixth branch of the armed forces, a Space Development Agency, a Space Operations Force that accepts personnel from each service and a joint and unified U.S. Space Command.
Citing the threat from Russia and China to U.S. space assets, Vice President Mike Pence on Aug. 9 unveiled a congressionally mandated report on how to organize military space at the Pentagon. “The United States will not shrink from this challenge. Under President Trump’s leadership we will meet it head on and defend our nation,” he says. “The only thing we cannot afford is inaction.”
First, the Pentagon would establish a Space Development Agency to develop and field space capabilities—similar to how the Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office and the
Pence was clear about setting a 2020 deadline for the creation of Space Force. But the latest report, written by Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, contains few details about how that would look. It only says that in early 2019, the Pentagon will submit a legislative proposal requesting a revision of Title 10 of the U.S. Code to establish service and support functions and leadership authorities of the Space Force as the sixth military service.
The report does say the Pentagon will move swiftly to recommend that President Donald Trump revise the unified command plan to create the U.S. Space Command by the end of 2018. Initially, the Pentagon will recommend that the head of
But does the lack of detail on a sixth service indicate the Pentagon is not committed to building it? Not necessarily. In fact, the report may lay the groundwork for getting there.
Todd Harrison, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, says there is a need for both a combatant command and a sixth service, and a special operations force can help build that Space Force. “The Space Operations Force will allow [the Defense Department] to identify the space personnel in each of the services and where they currently reside. This is a critical component of determining what organizations and people will transfer into the new service,” Harrison says.
The report lays out a schedule for when it will fund aspects of the Space Force, but so far, no money has been allocated. The Pentagon will submit a legislative proposal for the Space Force and identify budget elements that would move under the new military service once it is fully established, and outline any costs associated with the new entity. This will be part of the fiscal 2020 appropriation and authorization cycle.
“Today the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) executes 85% of the department’s military space procurement budget,” the report reads, “delivering missile warning; positioning, navigation and timing; satellite communications; space situational awareness; and other vital national security space capabilities. In anticipation of major restructuring, the SMC conducted a yearlong, comprehensive assessment and redesign of its organization and processes.”
These recommendations yielded a change called SMC 2.0, which drives innovation, speed and affordability. This organization will ultimately evolve into the Space Development Agency. The Pentagon’s comptroller and Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation office will determine budget, programs and overhead allocations; the top SMC official will streamline current operations, ensure oversight, integration and fielding of classified space capabilities; and the undersecretary of defense for policy will identify areas of cooperation between military space organizations and intelligence community space efforts, the report states.
On the surface, it may seem that creating a new service would be revenue-neutral. But in the Pentagon’s internal funding battles, there is no neutrality—the money will be taken from the topline of one or more of the existing services to pay for the new military branch.
A study on the Pentagon’s space budget for fiscal 2019 by Mike Tierney of Velos indicates the Air Force received $7.6 billion—97.5%—of that budget. The administration requested $90 million for the Army and $50 million for the Navy. That means the Air Force will lose the largest share of its budget to a Space Force and so is likely to fight the hardest against it.
The Air Force Association’s Mitchell Institute, led by Lt. Gen. (ret.) David Deptula, says it is supportive of a Space Force, but that creating it prematurely involves taking on risks. Supporters of the Space Force say the Air Force would never voluntarily separate space operators from its ranks, pointing to the service’s failure to thoughtfully build one in the 18 years since it was recommended in 2000.
To build a Space Force, it will take leadership.
In his speech, Pence said the Pentagon would need an assistant secretary of defense for space. But that position was not mentioned in the report. Without a leader, establishing a Space Force is not likely to happen. The omission of an assistant secretary, offered as a last-minute addition to the report, could suggest that the Pentagon is not serious about a sixth service or reflect internal disagreement about the issue.
Just how serious the Pentagon is will depend heavily on the stance of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who says his opposition last year to the idea of a Space Corps was directed at a rush to establish one before the problems it was addressing were defined.
“We’ve had a year, over a year, in defining. And the orbitization of this solution in terms of institutionalizing forward momentum is very important,” Mattis says. “But there are things we can move out on immediately. Actually, we already have been, and all this does is give that an emphasis. [It] gives us added support from above that we then take full advantage of, in terms of funding organization and reorganizing, so that we have more—I would call it more cohesion.”
Ultimately, Mattis adds that he is in favor of “warfighting capability organized along the lines of what the president has laid out.”