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The US Battle over "Space Corps"

With the beginning of the second space race in full swing, American military and congressional policy makers are sounding alarms concerning our lack of preparedness of some fieds of space. They just can't agree on who will be in charge. The following three articles give an update concerning American governments steps to creating a new "Space Corps" to face the coming challenges from our advesaries and space itself.

1. Air Force Stands Up New Headquarters Space DirectorateIn-Depth Coverage

Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs / Published June 16, 2017WASHINGTON (AFNS)

-- Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson has approved the reorganization of the Air Force headquarters to establish a Deputy Chief of Staff for Space Operations, who will be a three-star Air Force general officer."This is the next step in our effort to integrate, normalize and elevate space operations in the Air Force," said Wilson. "The United States is dependent on space and our adversaries know it. We must organize and train forces to be able to prevail in any future conflict which could extend into space."The new directorate will begin operating in early August. Over the next two months, the Air Force will work to stand up the Deputy Chief of Staff for Space Operations directorate – or "A-11" – by establishing an initial A-11 cadre, establishing operations and identifying the senior leaders who will lead the new staff."A new three-star deputy chief of staff for space … will increase decision making speed and help ensure freedom from attack and freedom to maneuver," said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein. "The Air Force culture evolved to own the skies and is now best postured to lead space into this information age and prepare our people and systems to achieve space superiority so the warfighter has what's required to win."The deputy chief of staff for space operations will be the advocate for space operations and requirements to meet the demands of a warfighting domain, according to Air Force officials. The directorate will also consolidate space functions from multiple parts of the Air Staff.Air Force Secretary as Principal Defense Advisor on Space ReaffirmedOn June 9, Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work reaffirmed the Secretary of the Air Force will continue to be the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense on space over the next year, giving Air Force and DOD leadership time to revalidate the current approach. As the principal advisor, the Secretary of the Air Force has responsibilities to guide and advocate for space related programs across all services and defense agencies."While we are integrating and normalizing space on the Air Staff, we are also strengthening the integrated service staff supporting the Principal DOD Space Advisor role so that major issues are addressed, operations and acquisition is streamlined and every service is heard when it comes to space," said Wilson.

2. (CNN) Congress and the Air Force are going to war over outer space.

By Jeremy Herb, CNNUpdated 9:22 AM ET, Sat July 8, 2017

The Air Force has launched an effort to stop a proposal approved by a House committee last week to create a new "Space Corps" under the Air Force's umbrella. The proposal, which was included in the House's National Defense Authorization Act, would set up a Space Corps in the mold of the Marine Corps, which is a separate military branch that's housed within the Navy. The authors of the idea say a separate and dedicated force devoted to space is needed to keep the US ahead of adversaries like Russia and China in the still-emerging domain of space war, arguing the Air Force is primarily devoted to fighting in the air, rather than space. "The department cannot fix itself on this issue -- Congress has to step in," said Alabama Rep. Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee, who has spearheaded the concept. Rogers' argument is that the US military is losing ground to Russia and China in space by having its space programs within the Air Force, when the Air Force's primary focus is on fighter jets like the F-35. "The Chinese literally have a space force today. Yet the Air Force would continue to force space to compete with F-35s. And we know who's going to win that competition," Rogers said. But the Air Force argues that the House is taking the wrong approach with its new push for a space corps, because it would create a new bureaucracy within the Air Force, adding more red tape to the process. "If you're saying the words separate and space in the same sentence, I would offer, you're moving in the wrong direction," Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein told reporters last month. "The Pentagon is complicated enough. This will make it more complex, add more boxes to the organization chart and cost more money," said Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson. "If I had more money, I would put it into lethality, not bureaucracy." The Air Force's comments rankled Rogers, who slammed the service's leaders the for trying to shut down the proposal. "It was their approach to this that's gotten us into this situation, and their insistence on maintaining the status quo is just mind-numbing," Rogers told CNN. The possible creation of a Space Corps -- which has elicited images of a new generation of warriors trained to fight in the final frontier -- could be similar to the establishment of the US Air Force itself. The US military's air power was initially part of the Army as the Army Air Corps, until the Air Force was established as an independent military branch in 1947. The fight over the space corps is the latest in a string of battles between Congress and the Air Force in recent years. Lawmakers have blocked the Air Force from retiring the A-10 Warthog attack jet in a years-long dispute, they've fought with the service over the use of Russian-made rocket engines to launch satellites and battled over the cost of the new B-21 bomber. But the Space Corps proposal doesn't have universal appeal in the House. Ohio Rep. Mike Turner offered an amendment during the markup of NDAA last week to study the proposal first. "My concern is that we just have not risen to the level of the knowledge necessary for us to make a decision that we haven't made since 1947 and put another seal up there," Turner said. The amendment was withdrawn, and the proposal stayed in the House bill, but the fate of the Space Corps may ultimately rest with the Senate, which did not include anything like it in its version of the NDAA, a massive policy bill that's been signed into law for 55 years. Two Senate aides told CNN the proposal will be studied before the two chambers combine their bills, but there's skepticism in the upper chamber that the Space Corps concept has been proven necessary. "I think many people would recognize that at some point as military space capabilities continue to advance, space forces will need to become their own service," said Todd Harrison, a defense analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "The question is really one of timing and transition. The Air Force seems to think space is not yet a fully mature warfighting domain in its own right and does not need to be a separate, co-equal service." Jerry Hendrix, a defense analyst at the Center for a New American Security, said he supported the concept, even if he predicted it would not be signed into law this year. "I am just not convinced that space is a natural extension of air power," Hendrix said. But some defense analysts, particularly from conservative think tanks, have come out against the proposal. "In the minds of HASC members, the creation of a new service would better focus efforts to innovate and operate in space, but in actuality, it would be costly in terms of headquarters overhead, and would further subdivide those efforts," said Tom Spoehr of the Heritage Foundation. Mackenzie Eaglen of the American Enterprise Institute said she was concerned about creating a Space Corps within the Air Force when the service's Space Command already exists. "They're just asking for turf wars and competing power centers and stovepipes in space, again which will have the opposite effect of what the House committee is hoping to achieve," she said.

3. Trump Revives U.S. Space Council, "Restoring Legacy Of Leadership' In Space

July 01, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump on June 30 signed an executive order reviving the National Space Council as former astronauts and NASA executives looked on.

"Today, we're taking a crucial step to secure America's future in space," Trump said, noting that the council has been dormant almost 25 years.

The revival of the council "sends a clear signal to the world that we are restoring America's proud legacy of leadership in space."

The council's job is to advise the president and help ensure that all aspects of the nation's space program, including national security, commerce, international relations, exploration, and science, are aligned.

Trump said the journey into space will not only make Americans stronger and more prosperous, but will unite them behind grand ambitions.

Vice President Mike Pence will serve as chairman of the council, which will include the secretaries of state, defense, and commerce, as well as the leaders of NASA and other agencies.

The council existed previously from 1989 to 1993, and a version of it also existed from 1958 to 1973.

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, 87, the second person to walk on the moon, attended the signing ceremony at the White House.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa


Copyright (c) 2017. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.T

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