In June 2018, the Department of Defense was directed by President Trump to “begin the process necessary to establish a space force as the sixth branch of the armed forces.”
It was officially established late last year, when the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act was signed into law, creating the first new branch of the military established since the Air Force in 1947.
About 16,000 airmen and civilians are currently assigned to the Space Force, but as this new branch of the military grows and takes shape, questions are arising about its structure and mission.
Naturally, in our hyper-woke society, a priority is deciding what Space Force members should be called collectively. Space Force officials have been reaching out to the Army, Navy and Marine Corps space communities for suggestions.
Forget “spacemen” – the force is looking for something more gender-neutral and distinctive. Members of the Air Force are being encouraged to submit ideas, in “good taste,” through the Air Force IdeaScale website.
Meanwhile, at the top, some National Guard leaders want the Pentagon to create a Space Force National Guard, which they believe is needed to ensure continuity between guard space operators and their active-duty counterparts, who will soon be joining the newest military branch.
According to Stars and Stripes, top National Guard generals expressed their concerns to reporters at the Pentagon.
“Personally, I don’t see how we have a Space Force without a Space Guard,” said Air Force Maj. Gen. Michael Loh, the adjutant general for the Colorado National Guard. “I really don’t.”
Air Force Brig. Gen. Torrence Saxe, the adjutant general for the Alaska National Guard, added: “I don’t think they would function very well if we didn’t have a Space National Guard.”
But there are questions as to how cost-effective it would be. Some planners have proposed limiting Space Force National Guard operations to the nine states and territories which have or will soon have space capabilities, rather than attempting to have a Space Force National Guard in all 50 states and four territories, which all have Army and Air National Guards.
Air Force Maj. Gen. James Eifert, the adjutant general for Florida’s guard said,”The concern it would be creating this huge, bureaucratic overhead is really not what we envision as how it would be and operate.”
But one retired Air Force general questions the fundamental mission of the Space Force in its entirety.
In a speech delivered at Hillsdale College late last year, LTG Steven L. Kwast expressed his concerns that if the Space Force doesn’t have the correct mission, it will render our nation indefensible in future conflict.
Kwast believes entrenched bureaucrats and military leaders across the Department of Defense, especially in the Air Force, have been actively resisting the President’s direction to build the Space Force.
At the heart of the problem is a disagreement about the mission of a Space Force. The Department of Defense envisions a Space Force that continues to perform the task that current space assets perform—supporting wars on the surface of the Earth. The Air Force especially is mired in an outmoded industrial-age mindset. It sees the Space Force as projecting power through air, space, and cyberspace, understood in a way that precludes space beyond our geocentric orbit.
Correspondingly, the Defense Department and Congress think that the Air Force should build the Space Force. So far, this has amounted to the Air Force planning to improve the current Satellite Command incrementally and call it a Space Force. It is not planning to accelerate the new space economy with dual-use technologies. It is not planning to protect the Moon or travel corridors in space to and from resource locations—raw materials worth trillions of dollars are available within a few days’ travel from Earth—and other strategic high grounds. It is not planning to place human beings in space to build and protect innovative solutions to the challenges posed by the physical environment. It is not developing means to rescue Americans who may get stranded or lost in space.
It’s amazing to think of these scenarios in our lifetimes – but so much of science fiction technology has become entrenched in our daily lives, we can hardly imagine a time before video calls, cars that park themselves and AI devices you call by their first name.
Kwast says the U.S. must take a giant leap forward in its thinking.
A major reason we won World War II when we did was the revolutionary—not slow and cautious—approach we took to developing nuclear weapons with the Manhattan Project. Likewise today, instead of blindly following the bureaucrats and generals in the Defense Department, we need a Manhattan-type project in order to develop the kind of Space Force needed to meet future military challenges.
Do you think he's right or wrong? Time will tell!