Monday, July 10, 2017

The United States Space Corps - Part II

The proposal to create the U.S. Space Corps "combat-ready space forces that enable the commanders of the combatant commands to fight and win wars", is still only in the house bill and thus a significant distance away from getting the level of approval required for it to become law. The Senate's version of the National Defense Authorisation Act has no similar USSC provision which means that once the House and the Senate bills are combined, it could be removed entirely, altered slightly or significantly or however unlikely - even approved. The Senate will certainly study the proposal before the two chambers combine their bills, but there's already scepticism in the upper chamber that the Space Corps concept has been proven necessary and it's possible the Senate could follow the expert advice from the Air Force themselves, who are none to happy about the bill.

Opposition to the creation of the USSC as an entity is considerably vocal and includes the U.S. Air Force itself. The Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson, Under Secretary of the Air Force Lisa Disbrow, Air Force Chief of Staff General David L. Goldfein [left], former Secretary of the Navy and NASA administrator Sean O'Keefe and former commander of U.S. Northern Command and NORAD General Victor E. Renuart Jr. among others all oppose the suggestion. "The Pentagon is complicated enough. This will make it more complex, add more boxes to the organization chart and cost more money," said Secretary Wilson. "If I had more money, I would put it into lethality, not bureaucracy."

Even given the fact that Republicans control all three branches of government and the fact that it's clear from the formation of the proposal that both House Republicans and Democrats can apparently agree on it at this inception stage (it was voted 60-1 by the HASC), the battle will be convincing enough Representatives and Senators going forward that the proposal is in the best interests of the United States.

As it stands, the other two major world powers already have significant military presences in space with  their own military branches dedicated to space or space/cyberwarfare. The Russian Space Forces are one of three sub-branches of the Russian Aerospace Forces [a merger of the Russian Air Force and the Russian Aerospace Defence Forces]. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s Strategic Support Force (SSF) has a broader scope than just space dominance as it's mission includes cyberwarfare and electromagnetic domains but it is partly composed of the Aerospace Systems Department, which has consolidated control the PLA’s space-based C4ISR systems. Many see that the U.S. Air Force appear to be concentrating more or their air-superiority citing the years long design and deployment debacle of the F-35 Lightning II fighter jet which will cost US$1.508 trillion.

Brigadier General "Whopper" Creedon, [right] SPEARHEAD Assistant Commander for Intelligence and Information welcomed the proposal telling reporters: ".. no other group will oppose the creation of the US Space Corps as vehemently as the Air Force themselves. They along with many at the Pentagon, are notoriously adverse to change but seem to forget that not long ago they they themselves were simply created from a branch of the US Army much as it's envisioned to create the Space Corps from them."

"I'm concerned" continued the general "that the Air Force is not spending enough on space and that instead too much of their considerable budget has been funnelled into incrementally bloated projects such as the F-35 which by 2014, was more than $150 billion over budget and seven years behind schedule. A formal entity, with it's own budget and administrative goals is needed drastically in the US to properly militarise space at least on par with the Russians and the Chinese to maintain global security and peace."

The general also cited co-operation between international space-warfare forces to unite against a potential extra-terrestrial threat was one of SPEARHEADs primary goals and it was currently the U.S. Air Force that was the weakest thread in a global security blanket against that threat. "It's such a good idea that it will never happen." concluded General Creedon.

Source: CNN

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