Inside GNSS Media & Research

SEP-OCT 2018

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 17 of 67

18 Inside GNSS S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 8 W hile threats to American defense satellites were climbing shar ply, t he costs and schedules of U.S. military space programs were on the same unsustainable trajectory — prompt- ing lawmakers last year to begin trying to reorganize Air Force's military space programs by creating a Space Corps. A move that, so far, has failed. Having narrowly avoided having its future set by others, the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) began earnestly remodeling its acquisition practices at the beginning of 2018. e changes at SMC, however, may now be absorbed into a more expansive effort by the Trump Administration to con- solidate and elevate military space activi- ties. e White House used a congressio- nally mandated Department of Defense (DOD) study to detail a plan to imme- diately start amalgamating space activi- ties as a prelude to the creation of a new department of the military — a Space Force on par with the Air Force itself. "It is a striking acceleration of the process and reflects, I think to a certain extent, surprising alignment between the White House, Pentagon and Congress on the path forward," said Mike Tierney, who follows space policy closely as a senior consultant and budget expert with the defense, space/intelligence, homeland security consulting firm Jacques & Asso- ciates. "e White House has said that this is a priority. e Pentagon's report sets in motion many steps to that end (and) aligns a lot with what the Hill has been pushing all along. So to a certain extent the outcome is surprising — that it's less conflict driven — and the optics seem to be on a relatively steady path for- ward towards implementation." Making It Happen e ball is now in the court of Congress, which will have to approve and fund the creation of this new service. at seems likely — given the backing of Trump, who reportedly sees the Space Force as an energizing issue for his base — and the congressional support that already exists, at least in the House. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Alabama, the vocal chairman of the House Armed Ser- vices Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, has already pledged to introduce a bill in January to give the Pentagon the authori- ty it needs to create a Space Force. Rogers and his subcommittee's ranking mem- ber Jim Cooper, D-Tennessee, launched the Space Corps proposal last year aer learning about the rising space capabili- ties of adversarial nations. "It was jarring to our committee a lit- tle over a year ago to have (General) John Hyten come in and tell us that China was our — if not our near peer, our peer in space, and Russia our near peer, and then have Admiral (Cecil) Haney tell us at PACOM (U.S. Pacific Command) not long aer that: 'No. ey're both our peers now.' at's unacceptable that we have allowed that to happen, particularly in a day and age when it is essential to have those space capabilities to fight and win wars," Rogers said during CSIS panel on National Security Space earlier this year in Washington. "The disappointing thing," Rogers told the audience, "is that the more we looked at it, the more we became con- vinced that it can't be fixed within the Air Force, the way it is structured now." Rogers and Cooper pushed hard to establish a Space Corps within the Air Force but had to settle for a pair of stud- ies on the matter. "Our Senate friends, in our opinion, were not as alert to the need for birthing a Space Corps as we were, but hopefully that will be corrected in a coming ses- sion," Rogers told the CSIS audience in February. One of those studies, by the Center for Naval Analyses — a federally funded research and development center chosen, in part, because it is fully independent Change Is Coming: The Space Force and SMC 2.0 DEE ANN DIVIS Dee Ann Divis has covered GNSS and the aerospace industry since the early 1990s, writing for Jane's International Defense Review, the Los Angeles Times, AeroSpace Daily and other publications. She was the science and technology editor at United Press International for five years, leaving for a year to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a Knight Science Journalism Fellow. WASHINGTON VIEW

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

view archives of Inside GNSS Media & Research - SEP-OCT 2018