Sunday, March 3, 2019

Department of Defense Submits U.S. Space Force Proposal

This is a graphic that lists five key points for establishment of the Space Force. Credit: Defense Media Activity

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 on Friday, March 1.

Space is a vital national interest, and the Defense Department seeks to maintain America’s comparative advantage in this new domain of great power competition, officials said. To that end, they explained, DOD has proposed that the U.S. Space Force initially be established as a new military service within the Department of the Air Force.

In this model, the new military service would have a similar relationship to the Department of the Air Force that the Marine Corps has with the Department of the Navy. A uniformed four-star Space Force chief of staff would be granted full membership in the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Additionally, the proposal calls for a new undersecretary of the Air Force for space, who would provide dedicated civilian supervision of the USSF, under the direction of the secretary of the Air Force.

Many nations have advanced their space capabilities and are actively looking for ways to deny America’s access to this critical domain. China and Russia have developed anti-satellite capabilities, and other nations — such as North Korea and Iran — are developing assets designed to negate American advantages.

“It is imperative that the United States adapt its national security organizations, policies, doctrine and capabilities to deter aggression and protect our interests,” President Donald J. Trump said in a directive he signed February 19.

If Congress passes the proposal, the U.S. Space Force would be authorized to organize, train, and equip military and civilian personnel “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 proposal says.

The proposal indicates that stand-up of the U.S. Space Force would be phased over five years – fiscal year 2020 to fiscal year 2024. During this period, the preponderance of space missions, capabilities, and associated personnel residing in the existing military services, including the Air Force, would transfer into the U.S. Space Force, under the direction and final approval of the secretary of defense.

Credit: defense.gov

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