The Department of Defense (DOD) does not routinely monitor the size, mix, and allocation of the 8,000 personnel who are involved in space acquisition activities, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
The Department of Defense (DOD) has requested to spend $14.1 billion on space programs in FY 2020, an amount that includes the establishment of a Space Force within the U.S. Air Force and a new Space Development Agency.
“The FY 2020 budget accelerates our efforts to move to a defendable space posture, which is critical as our adversaries continue to develop capabilities to counter our advantages in space,” the DOD said in budget documents. “This budget invests in the survivable and resilient Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared system and continues modernization of our GPS satellites communications systems and space warfighting enterprise.”
U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson has resigned her position to become president of the University of Texas at El Paso, officials confirmed today.
Her resignation is effective on May 31. She assumed office on May 16, 2017, meaning her tenure will last just over two years.
“I am proud of the progress that we have made in restoring out nation’s defense,” Wilson said in a statement. “We have cut years out of acquisition schedules and gotten better prices through competition; we have repealed hundreds of superfluous regulations; and we have strengthened our ability to deter and dominate in space.”
The Air Force secretary had clashed with the White House over the proposed Space Force. President Donald Trump wanted it to be a separate, sixth branch of the Armed Forces. Wilson, whose views prevailed in a proposal now before Congress, wanted it to be a new command within the Air Force.
WASHINGTON (DOD PR) — The establishment of the U.S. Space Force will help ensure the United States is postured to deter aggression and outpace potential adversaries in order to protect and defend our national interests in the face of a changing space environment and growing threats.
Fundamentally transform our approach to space
Establish the U.S. Space Force
Maximize warfighting capacity and advocacy for space
Outpace future threats
Defend our vital national interests in space
The Defense Department has forwarded to Congress a proposal to create the U.S. Space Force — the sixth branch of the armed forces, officials at the Pentagon said today.
“Our destiny, beyond the Earth, is not only a matter of national identity, but a matter of national security.”
— President Donald J. Trump
ESTABLISHING THE SPACE FORCE: President Donald J. Trump’s Space Policy Directive-4 is a bold, strategic step toward guaranteeing American space dominance that sets the framework for establishing the United States Space Force.
Space Policy Directive-4 calls on the Secretary of Defense to develop a legislative proposal establishing the Space Force as the sixth branch of the Armed Forces.
The Space Force will initially be established within the Department of the Air Force.
The legislative proposal will embody President Trump’s vision for the Space Force by requiring this new branch of the Armed Forces to:
Strengthen America’s ability to compete, deter and win in an increasingly contested domain.
Organize, train and equip our space warfighters with next-generation capabilities.
Maximize warfighting capability and advocacy for space while minimizing bureaucracy.
A VITAL NATIONAL INTEREST: Our use of space is necessary to keep our country safe, protect lives, and support our way of life.
The United States is the best in space, and our adversaries know it.
Space is a key source of strategic advantage for the United States, and potential foreign adversaries are determined to restrict our access to it.
America has the most capable military in the world, but we must address the looming threats from foreign adversaries in space to maintain our leadership and outpace competitors.
America will always seek peace through strength, and we will work with our allies and partners to secure that peace in space.
United States space forces will be ready to win in a competitive multi-domain environment against increasingly competitive adversaries.
To meet and deter challenges in space, Space Policy Directive-4:
Launches a joint interagency review by the National Space Council and the National Security Council to recommend changes to space operational authorities in order to address the threats posed by foreign adversaries.
Requires the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community to create collaborative mechanisms to improve space capabilities and operations.
LEADING IN A NEW WARFIGHTING DOMAIN: President Trump knows warfare is changing – space is now a warfighting domain just like the air, land and sea.
No branch of the Armed Forces has been created since the United States Air Force was established in 1947, more than 70 years ago. The world has changed significantly since then.
Establishing the Space Force is critical to preparing the Department of Defense for the evolving warfighting environments of the twenty-first century.
President Trump is dedicated to protecting the Nation and preparing America’s military to deter and defeat threats in space.
THE PRESIDENT: Today, I’m thrilled to sign a new order taking the next step to create the United States Space Force. So important, when you look at defense, when you look at all of the other aspects of where the world will be someday. I mean, this is the beginning. This is a very important process.
First, I want to recognize our wonderful Vice President, Mike Pence, who serves as the Chairman of the National Space Council. Thank you, Mike. Great job. I know you feel the same way I do.
I also want to thank Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, who is with us; Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson; Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Paul Selva; and the Executive Secretary of the Space Council, Dr. Scott Pace for being here today.
They’ve all worked very hard on the Space Force. They all believe in it very strongly, as I do. It’s the future. It’s where we’re going. I suspect, whether we like it or not, that’s where we’re going. It’s space. That’s the next step, and we have to be prepared.
Our adversaries and — whether we get along with them or not, they’re up in space. And they’re doing it, and we’re doing it. And that’s going to be a very big part of where the defense of our nation — and you could say “offense” — but let’s just be nice about it and let’s say the defense of our nation is going to be.
SUBJECT: Establishment of the United States Space Force
Section 1. Introduction. Space is integral to our way of life, our national security, and modern warfare. Although United States space systems have historically maintained a technological advantage over those of our potential adversaries, those potential adversaries are now advancing their space capabilities and actively developing ways to deny our use of space in a crisis or conflict. It is imperative that the United States adapt its national security organizations, policies, doctrine, and capabilities to deter aggression and protect our interests. Toward that end, the Department of Defense shall take actions under existing authority to marshal its space resources to deter and counter threats in space, and to develop a legislative proposal to establish a United States Space Force as a sixth branch of the United States Armed Forces within the Department of the Air Force. This is an important step toward a future military department for space. Under this proposal, the United States Space Force would be authorized to organize, train, and equip military space forces of the United States to ensure unfettered access to, and freedom to operate in, space, and to provide vital capabilities to joint and coalition forces in peacetime and across the spectrum of conflict.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Madam Secretary. Yeah, great words. Great words. Well, thank you, Secretary Wilson. Thank you for that introduction and thank you for your great leadership of the United States Air Force.
And I want to thank our host today, the Kennedy Space Center, Bob Cabana, and the entire team. To General Selva, who joins us here today; to all of our distinguished guests; to General Shess; but especially to the airmen of the 45th Space Wing and your families, it is great to be here at the Kennedy Space Center, the “World’s Premier Gateway to Space.” Thank you all.
And I want to bring greetings this morning, first and foremost, to a great champion of American leadership in space and a great champion of America’s military personnel and your families. I want to bring greetings from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump.
Kara Swisher of Recode posted an interview with Elon Musk last week. Below are lightly edited excepts concerning SpaceX and Musk’s plans for Mars.
Well let’s get to rockets, then. SpaceX. Last time we talked, you said you wanted to die on Mars, just not on landing. Which was a very funny joke, although it’s probably not a joke, it’s probably —
Well, it’d be ironic if that had happened. I have to be careful about tempting fate, because I think often the most ironic outcome is the most probable….
Instead of discussing your death, let’s discuss what’s going on at SpaceX. What are some of the things you’re doing?
We successfully launched the Falcon Heavy rocket, which is the most powerful rocket in the world by a factor of two. So that’s twice the power, twice the thrust of the next biggest rocket. And we actually launched a Tesla — my Tesla Roadster — to Mars orbit. The reason we did that is actually because, normally, when a new rocket is launched, you just put a dummy payload, which is like a block of concrete or something. (more…)
Space Newsreports that Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and former NASA administrator Mike Griffin, who serves as undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, are at odds over how to create a new space development agency designed to transform how the military creates advanced space technologies.
In her memo, Wilson suggests the Space Development Agency should be organized under the existing Space Rapid Capabilities Office and that it should be geographically and organizationally connected to U.S. Space Command. She recommends using “existing structures designed and chartered to acquire capabilities rapidly, rather than establishing new structures.”
Griffin is proposing a new D.C.-based agency with a staff of 112 government personnel that would report to him initially, but eventually would shift to the control of a new assistant secretary of defense for space, an office that would first have to be approved by Congress.
In Wilson’s plan, the Space Development Agency and other acquisition organizations would transition to the new Department of the Space Force. She pointedly pushes back on the idea of having an assistant secretary of defense for space or a Space Development Agency that reports to that office. She argues that such a setup would create additional bureaucracy that would be removed from the operators who use and maintain the equipment.
The space development agency is part of an effort by the Trump Administration to establish an independent space force within the Department of Defense.
Foreign Policyreports that U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson might be on the way out because President Donald Trump is angry over slow progress on setting up an independent space force.
Wilson, a former Republican congresswoman from New Mexico, recently angered Trump as well as Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, Defense Secretary James Mattis’s second in command, with what is seen as a campaign to undermine the Space Force effort, the sources said.
The news comes just weeks after an explosive new book by journalist Bob Woodward alleged that members of Trump’s Cabinet, including Mattis himself, are quietly trying to undercut or slow roll the president’s orders. An anonymous op-ed published in the New York Times last month described similar resistance within the administration.
In the current case, the administration believes Wilson also “is trying to undermine this part of the president’s agenda from within,” said one source with knowledge of the internal debate.
“Some senior officials know how to disagree with [the president] without being disagreeable to him. Heather Wilson hasn’t managed to do that. Her opposition to the Space Force has grated on him and I think he permanently sees her as troublesome and ineffective now,” an administration official told FP.
Defense Newsreports the U.S. Ar Force has estimated it will cost $13 billion over five years to establish an independent space force.
In a Sept. 14 memo obtained by Defense News and signed by Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, the service laid out its proposal to transition its space functions to a sixth branch of the military known as the Space Force.
Notably, the Air Force’s Space Force proposal pushes back on a previous proposal, put forth by Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, in several key ways, including advocating for increased integration with the National Reconnaissance Office and objecting to the White House’s plan to install an assistant secretary of defense for space to help guide the transition.
In an exclusive Sept. 17 interview with Defense News, Wilson said her intention was not to hit back at the Office of the Secretary of Defense, but to provide an alternative way to execute President Donald Trump’s direction to create a Space Force….
The proposal put forward by the Air Force would strip all space capability and personnel from the existing services, but even then, there will be additional funding needed to run a new space branch.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Secretary Mattis, Deputy Secretary Shanahan, General Selva, General Goldfein, members of the Armed Forces of the United States of America, and all the men and women of the United States Department of Defense who each and every day oversee the greatest military in the history of the world: Thank you for all you do every day for the American people. (Applause.)
It is my great honor, Mr. Secretary, to join you here today at the Pentagon. And let me begin by bringing greetings from your Commander-in-Chief, who has from the very earliest days of this administration proved himself to be a great champion of the Armed Forces of the United States, committed to strengthening American security here on Earth and in space. I bring greetings from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
It looks as if President Donald Trump’s call for the establishment of a “separate but equal” space force as a sixth branch of the U.S. military will have to wait at least another year.
There is no mention of a space force in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY 2019 that was worked out by members of the House and Senate Armed Services committees (HASC and SASC, respectively) earlier this week.
Last year, the two committees commissioned a report on how a separate space force could be established. With an interim report not due until Aug. 1, the committee members avoided the subject in the FY 2019 NDAA.
A separate space force would largely be carved out of the U.S. Air Force, which handles most space-related military functions. However, units from other branches of the service would likely be folded into the new force.
The NDAA conference report did include a section calling for the Secretary of the Air Force to develop a space warfighting policy. The HASC released the following summary of that section.
Russia and China are developing capabilities to deny the United States the advantages we derive from operating in Space. Equally concerning is the inability of the organizations responsible for the nation’s national security-related Space activities to prepare for Space to become a warfighting domain and to adequately develop and/or acquire essential national security Space systems.
Efforts to reform the Department’s approach to Space issues can be summarized in four equally important elements: acquisition reform, resources, cadre development, and joint warfighting. The NDAA comprehensively addresses each one of these to ensure that our Servicemembers are ready to defend our vital national interests in Space. The conference report also ensures that the Department’s Space investments are being executed in a way to ensure increased agility, lethality, and accountability. The NDAA:
Directs the Department of Defense to develop a plan to establish a separate alternative process for Space-related acquisitions.
Directs the Secretary of the Air Force to develop a plan to improve the quality of the Space cadre within the Air Force.
Establishes a subunified command for Space under United States Strategic Command for carrying out joint Space warfighting.
Directs the Secretary of Defense to develop a space warfighting policy and plan that identifies joint mission-essential tasks for Space as a warfighting domain.
Supports the President’s request for Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared, Protected Satellite Communications, and the Air Force’s Space launch efforts.