Friday, December 27, 2019

Real Supremacy: Why Space Force Now? (Lotta New Hardware and Capabilities Previously Undisclosed)

vox |  “What was once peaceful and uncontested is now crowded and adversarial,” Vice President Mike Pence said in an August 2018 address at the Pentagon announcing initial plans for the force. “It’s not enough to merely have an American presence in space, we must have American dominance in space. And so we will.”

Bringing that vision to pass has not been easy for the Trump administration. 

The executive branch does not have the power to unilaterally create new branches of the military; the Constitution gives Congress the sole power “to raise and support armies.” And as Ward has reported, the White House faced a military that was not in favor of a Space Force — a former Navy secretary said it was “a solution in search of a problem,” and then-Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told reporters last summer: “The Pentagon is complicated enough. This will make it more complex, add more boxes to the organization chart.”

In a sort of compromise, rather than delivering on the administration’s initial grandiose vision for space dominance, Congress attempted to answer both the White House and Pentagon’s concerns.
“Part of the argument for Space Force was that space was kind of getting lost within the Air Force, with its focus on air dominance,” Kaitlyn Johnson, an associate fellow and associate director of the Aerospace Security Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told The Verge

The Space Force, then, will focus just on space — and on countering Russia and China there — as the Trump administration wanted. But, in response to military concerns, it will not add a completely new structure to the Pentagon, housed as it is in the Air Force. (Its leaders will, however, have the authority to make operational and training decisions without consulting the Air Force.) 

Beyond the creation of a chief of space operations, the Space Force will give the military a few other new top-level officials, most notably, assistant secretaries dedicated to developing new technologies and creating strategies for orbital warfare.