Daily Briefing: May The Space Force Be With You:The US’s New Military Frontier: (January 9,2020)
“It was nearly half a century from Kitty Hawk to the creation of the Air Force. And now it’s 50 years after Apollo 11 that we create the Space Force. It’s a big moment. … Because space is the world’s newest warfighting domain. Amid grave threats to our national security, American superiority in space is absolutely vital. And we’re leading, but we’re not leading by enough. But very shortly, we’ll be leading by a lot. The Space Force will help us deter aggression and control the ultimate high ground.” – President Donald J. Trump, December 20, 2019. At the Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, the president signed the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act and with it directed the establishment of the U.S. Space Force (USSF) as the sixth branch of the armed forces.
Does the United States Need a Space Force? Dean Cheng and Michelle Cordero The Heritage Foundation, Dec. 2019
On the “Heritage Explains” podcast, Dean Cheng, a senior research fellow in Heritage’s Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy, helps break down if the United States needs a Space Force and what this new branch of the military would do.
Michelle Cordero: It was the announcement that every Star Wars superfan dreamed about and its news generated more memes than can be counted.
And liberals on late-night television got a good laugh from the announcement.
But the truth is, Trump’s Space Force is no laughing matter. Did you know that our most powerful adversaries already have a Space Force?
In 2015, Russia actually combined their Space Force that manages their satellites and associated tracking and control networks with their Air Force and aerospace and missile defense force to create what they now call their Russian Aerospace Forces. That same year China engaged in a massive reorganization of their military which saw the creation of the PLA Strategic Support Force bringing their electronic network, cyber and space warfare forces together into a single service. Shockingly they both also have some basic abilities that we do not.
Dean Cheng: One of the things that the Chinese and Russians at this point can do that the United States can’t, is that it can also put an astronaut into space. At this point, ever since we retired the space shuttles we have been hitching rides on Russian rockets in Russian capsules, even up to the International Space Station.
Cordero: Dean Cheng is a senior research fellow in Heritage’s Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy. Dean also sits on NASA’s National Space Council Users’ Advisory Group.
Dean explained to me why the abilities of our adversaries in space affect us in both wartime and peace. Right now there are thousands of U.S. satellites orbiting the Earth. In a time of war, if an enemy was able to interfere with our communication to any of these satellites they could severely affect missile defense and guidance.
Cheng: In peacetime, believe it or not, there’s an even bigger set of issues that are involved. If you order something from Amazon and you want to track your package, that’s GPS. If you use your credit card at the gas station pump, that’s communication satellites and also GPS. So you have the ability if you can interfere with satellite systems in peacetime, to affect almost every part of your daily life and a huge part of this country’s economic system.
Cordero: I asked Dean if he believes that the next big conflict will be in outer space. And if the United States really needs a Space Force. … [To read and hear the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.] ______________________________________________________
Why We Need a Space Force Todd Harrison CSIS, Oct. 3, 2018
The Trump administration’s push to create a new military department, known as the Space Force, has generated a fair amount of skepticism and more than a few nerdy jokes. Despite being easy fodder for late-night comedians, the way in which the U.S. military and intelligence community are organized for space is a serious national security issue because the threats posed to U.S. space systems by other nations are real and growing. A Space Force is needed to consolidate authority and responsibility for national security space in a single chain of command; to build a robust cadre of space professionals who can develop space-centric strategy and doctrine, and to avoid the conflicts of interest inherent in the other Services that have short-changed space programs for decades.
First, let’s get a few misconceptions out of the way. The Space Force has nothing to do with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), astronauts, protecting the planet from asteroids, or fighting aliens. This is about how we organize, train, and equip our existing space forces to protect U.S. national security interests here on Earth. And President Trump did not come up with the idea of creating an independent military department for space. The role of space within the military has been debated for more than two decades in various forms. As early as 1997, Air Force Chief of Staff Ron Fogleman outlined a vision to “transition from an air force to an air and space force, on an evolutionary path toward a space and air force.” In 2001, the Rumsfeld Space Commission issued its final report, which recommended a gradual evolution toward a separate Service for space by creating a Space Corps within the Air Force as an intermediary step. It noted that “near- and mid-term organizational adjustments should be fashioned so as to not preclude eventual evolution toward a Space Department.” And just last year, before President Trump began publicly touting the idea, the House passed legislation that would have created a Space Corps.
Other common misconceptions are that we’re rushing into this debate without enough time to study the issue or that the Space Force is a solution in search of a problem. Neither is true. Numerous studies over the past twenty years have examined the issue in detail, and different organizational constructs have been proposed, analyzed, and debated. Some ideas have been tried in practice, and many of these have been discarded as ineffective or insufficient. As the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) surmised in a recent report to Congress, nearly all the studies and congressional commissions that have analyzed this issue agree that there are three central problems with how U.S. national security space is organized today.
First, authority and responsibility for space are fragmented. A 2016 Government Accountability Office (GAO) study found that there are more than 60 different organizations strewn across the Department of Defense (DoD) and the intelligence community with responsibility for space acquisitions. While more than 80 percent of DoD’s unclassified space funding in a typical year is in the Air Force, key components of the space architecture, such as user terminals, ground control systems, some satellites, and many of the personnel that operates these systems, reside in the Army and Navy. Moreover, classified space funding for the National Reconnaissance Office and other intelligence agencies in the Military Intelligence Program budget may rival the Air Force’s unclassified space funding in magnitude. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.] ______________________________________________________
Defense Intelligence Report: China in Steady Pursuit of Space Capabilities To Outmatch U.S. Sandra Erwin Space News, Jan. 16, 2019
An unclassified report released Jan. 15 by the Defense Intelligence Agency does not reveal anything new about China’s advances in space technologies and capabilities. But it does highlight one major concern for the Pentagon: China’s military is becoming increasingly adept at militarizing commercial space technologies.
The People’s Republic of China is conducting “sophisticated satellite operations and probably is testing on-orbit dual-use technologies that could be applied to counter space missions,” said the DIA in its first unclassified report made public on China’s military power.
China’s space advances in support of civil, economic and political goals could provide the nation a significant edge in military operations, the DIA said. Chinese military strategists regard the ability to use space-based systems and deny them to adversaries as central to enabling modern warfare. “As a result, the People’s Republic of China continues to strengthen its military space capabilities despite its public stance against the militarization of space,” said the report.
“Space operations probably will form an integral component of other PLA campaigns,” the DIA said. The report suggests China is building up space capabilities as a way to deter the United States or others from intervening in military conflicts in the Asia-Pacific region.
China has parallel programs for military and commercial communications satellites and owns and operates about 30 satellites used for civil, commercial and military communications. By 2020 China will complete its global constellation of 27 Beidou navigation satellites while maintaining a separate regional constellation providing redundant coverage over Asia. The first Beidou satellite was launched in 2000.
Independent analysts have revealed considerable details about China’s growing arsenal of counter space capabilities such as directed-energy anti-satellite weapons and satellite jammers. The DIA report said these developments continue “even though the nation has not publicly acknowledged the existence of any new counter space programs since it confirmed it used an anti-satellite missile to destroy a weather satellite in 2007.”
The DIA said U.S communications, reconnaissance, navigation and early warning satellites “could be among the targets of attacks.”
Air Force report on space threats
The U.S. Air Force on Jan. 16 released an unclassified report created by the National Air and Space Intelligence Center that takes a broader look at the militarization of space.
It mentions both China and Russia as nations that are developing new space capabilities to achieve military goals and reduce their reliance on U.S. space systems. “These countries continue to develop, test and proliferate sophisticated anti-satellite weapons to hold U.S. and allied space assets at risk,” said the Air Force report. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.] ______________________________________________________
China Has a ‘Space Force.’ What Are Its Lessons for the Pentagon? Elsa B. Kania Defense One, Dec. 29, 2018
The Chinese military seems to agree that the current U.S. approach to space is hindered by some serious shortcomings.
If the United States is to maintain military advantage in space, as President Trump has promised – and as his new Space Force is meant to do – U.S. policy and strategic decisions should be informed by an understanding of China’s ambitions to become an “aerospace superpower” (航天强国) – and how the Chinese military has reorganized itself to seek dominance in space (制天权). Start with the way space is characterized in China’s military strategy: the “new commanding heights in strategic competition.” Once a sanctuary for U.S. satellites that have fostered unparalleled military capability, space is now recognized by Chinese military strategists as a critical U.S. vulnerability. Without reliable space support, U.S. capabilities for global C4ISR and precision strike will fail, and the U.S. military could be reduced to a level of merely mechanized warfare, by the assessment of one Chinese defense academic.
This recognition has motivated the development of a range of “trump card” weapons (杀手锏). Some, like various cyber or electronic warfare attacks, could remain plausibly deniable in a crisis or conflict. But the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has also been developing direct-ascent and co-orbital kinetic kill capabilities that could be directly damaging. These include the DN-2 ASAT missile, whose 2013 test first demonstrated a potential capability to target U.S. satellites in geosynchronous orbit, and the DN-3 hit-to-kill midcourse interceptor, tested successfully as recently as February 2018.
At the same time, China is also rapidly expanding its own architecture of space systems, which will increase its military capabilities but also create new potential vulnerabilities. So far in in 2018, China has undertaken a record 25 launches successfully. China is on track to create “a global, 24-hour, all-weather earth remote sensing system” by 2020, including satellites with EO, SAR, and ELINT payloads. BeiDou, China’s indigenous competitor to GPS, is expanding from a regional capability to a system with global reach. China has even launched the world’s first quantum satellite and plans to launch constellations of micro- and nano- quantum satellites in the years to come in order to expand its quantum communications infrastructure – and perhaps set the stage for a future ‘quantum Internet.’ … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.] ______________________________________________________
Space Force Nominee Warns Congress of Chinese, Russian Capabilities: John Grady, USNI News, June 5, 2019 — Strides Russia and China have made in space mean the United States can no longer take for granted its superiority in that domain said the nominee expected to head the nation’s Space Force and an independent Space Command said Tuesday.
Peter Juul, FP, Mar. 20, 2019 — Just before Valentine’s Day last month, NASA made one final call to Opportunity, the little Mars rover that had been trekking across the red planet since it arrived in 2004.
Israel’s First Air Force: Diane Tedeschi, Air & Space Magazine, Oct. 2017 — In his latest book, Angels in the Sky: How a Band of Volunteer Airmen Saved the New State of Israel, Robert Gandt examines how an enterprising group of volunteer pilots flying a ragtag fleet of aircraft (Bristol Beaufighters, C-46s, B-17s, Spitfires) helped turn the tide during Israel’s 1948 struggle for independence.