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Report to Congress on U.S. Space Force; Official Pentagon Announcement

The following is the Aug. 9, 2018 report ton Congress on the Pentagon’s plan to establish a Department of Defense command structure for space operations in the military and the announcement from Vice President Mike Pence.

From the report:

Space is integral to the U.S. way of life, our national security, and modern warfare. Although U.S. space systems have historically maintained a technological advantage over those of potential adversaries, those potential adversaries are now actively developing ways to deny our use of space in a crisis. It is imperative that the United States adapts its policies, doctrine, and capabilities to protect our interests. Towards that end, the Department of Defense will marshal spaces resources into a Space Force. The Space Force will protect our economy through deterrence of malicious activities, ensure our space systems meet national security requirements, and provide vital capabilities to joint and coalition forces across the spectrum of conflict.

Presidential leadership, congressional support, and Department of Defense focus have set the environment for dramatic improvement of our national space capabilities. The President has articulated a compelling vision for a Space Force that protects the U.S. economy and way of life.

In his remarks at a meeting of the National Space Council on June 18, 2018, the President directed “the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a Space Force as the sixth branch of the Armed Forces” that is separate from and equal to other branches. The Department of Defense will take immediate steps to implement the President’s direction where authorities exist and seek legislation from Congress to realize the President’s vision.

The President’s National Security Strategy and the National Strategy for Space highlight that space is a strategic domain and the United States must maintain peace through strength in space. The National Strategy for Space outlines four pillars for a unified approach to secure U.S. space

  • Transform to more resilient space architectures,
  • Strengthen deterrence and warfighting options,
  • Improve foundational capabilities, structure, and processes, and
  • Foster conducive domestic and international environments for space development. Congress has also made its intent and support clear, providing direction and significant funding to enhance national space capabilities.

  • proudrino

    Okay. Now that DOD is headed down this path, the first thing that needs to happen is to refocus the debate. It’s fun to equate Space Force with Star Fleet but the reality is much more serious. VP Pence did a good job this morning laying out why space is a warfare domain, just like surface or air. Adversaries have the potential of harming our nation by means that include the space domain. Let’s see how many people are still laughing at “Trump’s Space Farce” when they are unable to use a credit card or find a route via GPS.

    For the Navy, space dominance is essential for operating at sea. Not just the LCS platforms would be floating pieces of junk without the ability access space-based or space-enabled systems for communication and battlespace awareness. So….. let’s forget the jokes about being “Haze gray in the Milky Way” and start focusing on the existential threat from space and our adversaries in that domain.

    • muzzleloader

      Well said, and if the US doesn’t take the lead in space, China will be glad to.

      • tiger

        Ah, but we have Stargates!

    • NEC338x

      Should probably just have extended the AF charter from the height of a dandelion through to the edge of the exosphere. They’re already operating in the realm with the X-37. That covers deep atmosphere through close orbit, including LEO and MEO. The requirements for deep space operations will be different, with enhanced radiation requirements, radio transmission time lags, and closed-loop life support for example, making it much more “navy/coast guard-ish”.

      But hey! Its a start and will evolve over time.

  • Dan O’Brian

    I’m all in favor, but let’s do three things
    -change the name from “space force” it sound too much like air force (chair force, air farce, etc.). U.S. Space Command should work fine
    -do not mimic air force uniforms in any way, they are much too g a y, but we don’t need ‘grape’ camo either, in fact let’s just skip the whole camo idea altogether
    -use Naval ranks structures (as they do in all movies and television shows), and after all, we will have space ‘ships’ at some point. After all, Colonel Picard just doesn’t work does it?

    • waveshaper1

      “-change the name from “space force” it sound too much like air force (chair force, air farce, etc.). U.S. Space Command should work fine”

      FYI, we’ve been there and did this once before; The original USSPACECOM, which was a Combatant Command back in the day, had a lifespan of 17 years (1985 – 2002). If our leadership is really serious – then maybe this new version of a Space Force/Space Command will last longer then 17 years this round. Heck, we can even use the same old USSPACECOM LOGO/Patch again.

      • And that is why Space Force is needed as well as Space Command – the existing services simply don’t consider space important and a permanent advocate will change that.

        • proudrino

          To say the services don’t consider space important is a little harsh. The reality is that the AF in particular (as the lead service) didn’t make space as much a priority as they should have.

          But it goes deeper than that. For example, The AF deferred delivery of space-based capabilitiies for land warfare critical to the Army and Marines in order to fund AF specific priorities. The reason why Space Force is necessary and why this administration and members of Congress have pushed a separate branch of the military is because AF has not been an honest broker when it comes to national security space. Much of what was announced yesterday about the Space Depevelopment Agency goes to correct acquisition and prioritization shortfalls that were the result of giving all the control to one service.

          • I think you’re being a little too hard on the AF. While it has neglected space, budgets have been tight and it is only natural that the services have been focusing on the core missions over their numerous secondary responsibilities.

          • proudrino

            ARC, That’s the problem. AF decided its parochial interests in space trumped the Army/Marine need for smaller secure SATCOM units.

          • It’s a problem and it’s why we need Space Force, but it’s not the AF’s problem. A service should not be expected to sacrifice its own capabilities to take care of another service’s needs.

        • Duane

          That is bullshit and you know it. Why say what is obviously not true?


    • tiger

      The USAF has run the Stargate in rather macho fashion.

  • Truly a historic moment. It should be very interesting to see what comes out of this in a few decades.

    • vetww2

      We should live so long. I, myself don’t even buy green bananas.

  • vetww2

    I don’t see the compellling argument for this, except it does meet the Bueracracy disease of requiring many more administratorrs and 4 more Generals.

    • vetww2

      I take it back. When one is wrong, admit it,
      It seems that the group in the A/F addressing space was dufunded back in 2013. No presidential interest and need for $$ for F-22 AND F-35. Downside is more burocracy, upside is distinct identity within DOD. Functional advantage (conjecture) is more attention to US booster capability, now >0, Renewed space station support. now that NASA is just a telescope facility, and that in trouble, and a significant upgrade in astronaut training. I would appreciate responses after reading document.

  • Ned

    Combating enemies from space ain’t cheap.

    • proudrino

      We are not combating enemies from space. Ensuring dominance in the space warfare domain in light of actions by Russia and China…. that’s another matter.

      The Navy cannot effectively fight without unencumbered access to space. It’s a serious and legitimate vulnerability. Let’s stop the inane comparisons to Star Trek or suggesting that we are about to declare war on Mars or something.

      And, yes indeed, pay your taxes.

      • Ned

        Learn from those before you and wiser;

        “Our government has kept us in a perpetual state of fear — kept us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervor — with the cry of grave national emergency. Always there has been some terrible evil at home or some monstrous foreign power that was going to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it by furnishing the exorbitant funds demanded” – General Douglas MacArthur

  • proudrino

    There is nothing wrong with what was announced yesterday. All it really does is reorganize how DOD approaches national security space (inculding acquisition). If Congress balks at the idea of a sixth branch of the military, all that is being done is a positive step to better management of national security space. Since 2002, DOD space has largely been controlled by the AF. Space issues are much larger than the AF, including space-based capabilities in the land and surface warfare domains. It is time that space be treated as a separate warfare domain overseen by and ASD for space.

    In other words, I wouldn’t rail against bureaucratic waste right now as much a focus on the positive aspects of getting a truly joint approach to DOD space.

  • Duane

    It is beyond dumb to create a new administrative stovepipe in the defense of our nation. Virtually all current and retired uniformed military leaders and civilian secretaries in DOD strongly oppose this as precisely the opposite way we should go … and that integration not segregation of space based defense with air, ground, and naval defenses is the way we need to move.

    This proposed move, which thankfully the Senate rejected in the FY2019 NDAA which is now law, seems driven mainly by Trump’s ego. He apparently wants to go down in history as the visionary creator of the future. A future which our military leaders and the US Senate fully reject.

    • Ned

      “No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth!” ~ Ronald Reagan

      Ironically, he wanted to see a militarized space with the Strategic Defense Initiative or “Star Wars” program that never got launched and ended in 1993.

      • Duane

        Space is obviously a valid area of operations, ever since Sputnik went up in the 1950s and ICBMs were born.

        The question is whether it is better to create an entirely new branch of the military that will erect barriers with the other existing branches, and therefore make it harder to defend ourselves in space … or build a joint command made up of people in the Air Force, Navy (incl. Marines) and Army, all of whom currently operate and/or depend upon assets and weapons in space, thus increasing cooperation and coordination between the branches. And thereby reducing bureaucracy, and cost, not increasing them. And giving better performance. Stovepipes kill … us, that is, not the bad guys.

        The latter is what virtually everybody in the military leadership today wants to see happen, along with the US Senate … and anyone else who thinks on the subject for more than 2 seconds.

        • Ned

          “Space is obviously a valid area of operations…..”

          Can you name a program or bureaucracy that the U.S. government ever launched and later said it was not valid or it was a mistake? Have they ever admitted fault? Have they ever disagreed with their own decisions?

          If the state does it, then it is valid. You or me, not a chance. And while you’re at it, don’t steal, the government hates competition.

    • waveshaper1

      FYI; The seed for this “Space Force” were officially planted in November 2015/; See FY2016 NDAA (signed by the President 25 November 2015);

      Excerpt FY2016 NDAA; Subtitle A—Space Activities

      of Defense shall establish a unified major force program for national security space programs pursuant to section 222(b) of this title to prioritize national security space activities in accordance with the requirements of the Department of Defense and national security.

      Also, This was the stuff pushed forward by the House/Senate for the FY2017 NDAA which was signed by the President on 23 Dec 2016. I believe the USAF was successful in getting most of this stuff shutdown/delayed at the time;

      Excerpt; Establishment.—Not later than January 1, 2019, the Secretary of Defense shall establish a Space Corps. The function of the Space Corps shall be to assist the Secretary of the Air Force in carrying out the duties described in subsection below;
      Composition.—The Space Corps shall be composed of the following:

      The Chief of Staff of the Space Corps.

      Such other offices and officials as may be established by law or as the Secretary of the Air Force, in consultation with the Chief of Staff of the Space Corps, may establish or designate.

      Duties.—Except as otherwise specifically prescribed by law, the Space Corps shall be organized in such manner, and the members of the Space Corps shall perform, such duties and have such titles, as the Secretary may prescribe. Such duties shall include—
      (1) protecting the interests of the United States in space;
      (2) deterring aggression in, from, and through space;
      (3) providing combat-ready space forces that enable the commanders of the combatant commands to fight and win wars;
      (4) organizing, training, and equipping space forces; and
      (5) conducting space operations of the Space Corps under the command of the Commander of the United States Space Command.

      • proudrino

        Waveshaper1- The seed of Space Force can be found in the 2001 Space Commission Report (aka the Rumsfeld Report).

        • waveshaper1

          Yep, I just read that in an ABC article. Note; I should’ve said “planted the seed for this new/latest version of a Space Force”. I reviewed the last 10 years of NDAA budgets and FY2016 is the first time this Major Space Force stuff is actually in the NDAA .

          This is also odd because Rumsfeld is the one that pushed the following issue back in 2001/2002; Rumsfeld pushed for the original USSPACECOM Combatant Command to be absorbed into USSTRATECOM back in 2002 and he was successful. His rational was that Unified Combatant Commands be capped at 10 (10 was the standard set by Rumsfeld), and with the formation of any new Combatant Command, one would have to be deactivated. This is what happened to the original USSPACECOM/it was USSPACECOM versus USNORTHCOM for spot #10 and USNORTHCOM won thanks mostly to Rumsfeld efforts.

      • vetww2

        On the button. A/F resistance is based on losing dominion and..OH, YES$$$$$. If it does nothing more in the near term than a space junk cleaning poject, it would be a great start.

      • Duane

        A “major force program” is not a brand new service branch.

        It is only Trump and a few Congressmen who propose the latter.

        • waveshaper1

          Well that is exactly what the House of Representatives has tried to do with this silly “Major Force Program” seed that was planted in the FY2016 NDAA (Section 1601). Luckily the Senate, with a big assist from DoD, has successfully shut down/delayed most of this crap, so far. Ref; See the FY2017 NDAA (Section 1601/ most of the stuff the house wanted was shot down) and the FY2018 NDAA (Section 1601/most of the stuff the house wanted is back again).

    • proudrino

      “Virtually all current and retired uniformed military leaders and
      civilian secretaries in DOD strongly oppose this as precisely the
      opposite way we should go ..”

      Name names or don’t make these baseless claims. I’ve heard of a few retirees weighing in on the issue but not a single current uniformed leader that stands in opposition. And of those retirees, Gabby Giffords husband was a hoot. Married to a woman who, as a Democrat, has no problem with government growth and he’s suddenly a government slasher. Just as much a hypocrite as you are.

      • Duane

        SecDef Mattis, SecAF Wilson, AF CoS Goldfien, the entire US Senate that overwhelmingly voted against the Space Force, including Chair SASC McCain. All in writing this year. Just for starters.

        Named names, so there you go dude. Name your names who support a separate Space Force who are either current service civilian or uniformed leaders. You cannot, of course, because they do not exist.

        • proudrino

          Mattis is supportive of Space Force and so is Trump. That’s all that really matters. SECAF and Goldfein are clearly not supportive because they lose $$$. And who cares what McCain thinks since he has all but abandoned is responsibilities due to health issues?

          The reality remains that AF was a bad steward of space and things need to change. The (re)creation of US Space Command is a good first step to address serious issues long ignored by the AF.

    • vetww2

      You sound like all the naysayers in 1947 who criticised creating the Air Force, NOT TO SAY YOUR WRONG. Just realize bureaucracies are more reproductive than rabbits. Mark governmental growth in the past 50 years. You wouldn’t believe it if you plot it. In addition we have trasitioned from a country of laws to a country of lawyers.

  • Duane

    DOD NEVER proposed a new branch of the military for space ops, which is what Trump is proposing, and thr Senate has already rejected. DOD strongly opposes creating a new service branch for space … on the contrary DOD sees space as an obvious area of jointness between the existing branches.

    • proudrino

      Read the document Duane. DOD may have not proposed a sixth branch of the military but they are working to that end because that is the order they have been given. And there is no evidence that the DOD “strongly opposes” the action- that’s just your petty partisan hatred showing up as “fact” in your misinformed declarations.

      The reality is that there is a lot of good in what the DOD is doing, even if Congress doesn’t go along with the idea of a sixth branch of the military. AF was not being a good steward of their responsibilities in space and this is a corrective measure to address real challenges that have been ignored by DOD for way too long. This change would not have come about without the actions of our President. Not that you partisans would ever admit that fact because of your hatred.

    • vetww2

      Yep, I remember that same argument in 1947 of, ” Why do we need an AIR FORCE?” The Army and the Navy already have all areas covered.” I am not saying that they were wrong, but only deja vu-ing on a familiar theme.

  • proudrino

    716- the document that was released a few months ago was the interim report to the document released yesterday. There were some significant differences. For example, DOD has finally committed to a unified command for space. The DOD would not have made that commitment had the concept of a sixth branch of the military not been put on the table.

    That being said, a sixth branch of the armed forces would be years off in any case. There is no need to worry over administrative structure or overhead (debates yet to happen) at this time. Even more so, the discussion of uniforms or if they use Navy or Army/Air Force/ Marine rank structures.

  • So who wants to be a spacemen?

  • John B. Morgen

    A bad idea, just add a additional duty to the Dept. of the Air Force, or another MAJCOM. We do NOT need another service department.