By Jonathan Davis
The United States first began exploring near space substantially in the 1950s, which expanded to manned space flights, moon exploration missions, and, eventually putting a man on the moon.
Since then our country has contributed to the development and staffing of a manned International Space Station, launched (and retired) the space shuttle program, and now are experimenting with the X-37B, the Air Force’s unmanned (we’re told) ‘space plane’ that has flown four clandestine missions to date, carrying secret payloads.
But only recently has the Pentagon moved to created an actual new branch of service entirely dedicated to space: The U.S. Space Force, which was backed and pushed by President Trump.
That said, what, exactly, is this new space force going to do? What is the force’s main objective?
The Federal News Network reported:
The Space Force is facing some of its most daunting existential questions as it prepares to present to Congress its plan for how it will become the next military service.
The Air Force secretary must deliver the plan to Congress by Feb. 1.
Maj. Gen. John Shaw, leader of Space Force’s Space Operations Command said the new service is building itself for the far future.
“This is a huge opportunity. We have the opportunity to create a warfighting service from scratch,” Shaw said Friday at an Air Force Association event in Washington. “I’ve been telling the team, ‘Don’t think about a warfighting service for the next decade. Create a warfighting service or the 22nd century. What is warfighting going to look like at the end of this century and into the next?’”
That might even include interplanetary operations which, for now, is the stuff of science fiction movies. But as the U.S. and other great powers continue to advance technologically, they will increasingly turn their attention to the heavens.
“Technology will change on the fly, maybe even by the second,” he said. “What we see is code writing that used to take years that now takes weeks or even hours. That will actually be done in microseconds, and maybe artificially. It’s going to be highly technology dependent and not human capital dependent.”
Exactly how that’s going to play out hasn’t been developed yet. Doctrine is still being worked out.
“We have to bring balance to the space force,” Shaw said. “It’s a different domain, the physics are different.”
“The Air Force is mostly expeditionary focused and needs to be,” Shaw said. “We train and we move to the fight. That’s how the Air Force works. What does warfighting for space look like? There’s not a lot of movement going on. It’s happening 24/7, 365 days a year and it’s happening in home station. We call it employed in place. It’s not even deployed in place because that presumes you move somewhere.”
The FNN noted further:
Shaw said while the Space Force needs to carve out its own niche in the military, space connects all of the services. He likened the force to the element carbon in that it bonds to everything. The Space Force will help be and protect the glue between the military services for things like position, navigation and timing.
Shaw said the Space Force needs to think about doctrine, training and fighting differently as well.
And get this: The U.S. Space Force will also have reserve components like the other active-duty military branches — the U.S. Space Force Reserve, for instance.
And, perhaps even a Space National Guard (the Army and Air Force are currently the only two branches with National Guard components).
Brig. Gen. Patrick Cobb, special assistant to the National Guard Chief for space, told Federal News Network the Defense Department plans to create a Space National Guard in tandem with the Space Force.
“In the second year of existence we will start bringing National Guard units over to the Space National Guard,” Cobb said. “We will bring the Air National Guard units over first and then a year after that the Army National Guard unit that we have here in Colorado. The Air Force Reserve would do the same thing and Army Reserve.”