Thursday, July 20, 2017

The United States Space Corps - Part V

During his confirmation hearing to be reappointed Vice Chairman of the Joint Chief's of Staff for another two years, Air Force General Paul Selva said “I do not believe now is the right time to have a discussion about developing a space force with all of the leadership and infrastructure that would go with it. It would also complicate the command and control of the space constellation, which is critical to our military operations.”

Sen. Ted Cruz asked Selva what else the military could do to better address space issues, Selva listed three in-progress reforms: the consolidation of the military’s command and control of space into The National Space Defense Center in Colorado Springs, continue moving authorities to the Air Force secretary on acquisition for satellite constellations that are “critical to military defense” and giving the commander of Air Force Space Command the responsibility to manage the Pentagon’s entire constellation of satellites, as opposed to having various pieces managed through subcomponents, as well as elevating Air Force Space Command from a three-star to a four-star role. "I support allowing time to implement this reorganization and to evaluate its efficacy,” said Selva.

But the HASC representatives spearheading the Space Corps agenda have stated "The time for study is over: We must now act.” and have continued efforts to create a new Space Corps. On Tuesday HASC Chairman Mac Thornberry held a classified hearing and on Wednesday, a closed briefing by the Government Accountability Office on current problems with space operations. “The GAO report cited numerous failed or failing acquisition programs, with billions of dollars of cost overruns because the current acquisition system is so complicated that no one is in charge,” Rep. Mike Rogers and Rep. Jim Cooper said in a release.

The representatives were critical of the Air Force for Secretary Wilson's claim that the Space Corps would create unneeded bureaucracy offering that sixty Pentagon offices currently deal with space operations.

Military analyst Viktor Murakhovsky, the editor-in-chief of Arsenal of the Motherland considers that the setup of a separate Corps counter-productive as "Experience has shown that such an approach is ineffective. Such units can't operate on their own. They will certainly need a ground infrastructure, communication and guidance systems, as well as a logistics system, so they will use the systems of the Air Force." 

Murakhovsky explained that Russia used to have a separate unit of Space Troops which proved to be ineffective and in 2015 merged two branches of its armed forces, its Space Troops and Air Forces, into the Aerospace Forces and that China does not have a separate branch of Space Corps. Beijing was discussing the setup of a similar structure, but it has not been implemented so far. It's unknown whether China has abandoned or just postponed such plans.

Sources: Defence News,, The Hill, The Washington Examiner

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