US Space Force Will Be Created Tonight

Trump will sign the National Defense Authorization Act 2020 at 7:30 pm EST.

The NDAA provides the Secretary of the Air Force with the authority to transfer Air Force personnel to the newly established Space Force.

$72.4 million to stand up the Space Force headquarters. The agreement creates a Chief of Space Operations (CSO) for the U.S. Space Force who will report directly to the Secretary of the Air Force and become a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

There will be an Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Space Acquisition and Integration who will be the senior space architect.

The FY20 NDAA recognizes space as a warfighting domain and establishes the U.S. Space Force in Title 10 as the sixth Armed Service of the United States, under the U.S. Air Force. In doing so, the NDAA provides the Secretary of the Air Force with the authority to transfer Air Force personnel to the newly established Space Force.

NDAA Also Tries to Accelerate Technology Innovation – Accelerating Defense Innovation

The FY20 NDAA aspects of the Accelerating Defense Innovation Act to assist DOD’s efforts to access new sources of innovation. It establishes inclusive pathways for the most promising small businesses to commercialize their innovations for the DOD market. The NDAA increases DOD’s engagement with innovation hubs across the country by establishing a Joint Reserve detachment at Defense Innovation Unit locations and authorizing $75 million to the Defense Innovation Unit for the creation of a National Security Innovation Capital Fund.

42 thoughts on “US Space Force Will Be Created Tonight”

  1. Part of the rationale behind the Space Force is to work around the Pentagon’s acquisition mess. It’s obvious, when looking at SpaceX and China, that the old multi-decade projects of the MIC are no longer tenable.

    My fear is that the AF will gain the upper hand, nipping this effort in the bud, before we get any significant traction.

  2. With just a little imagination…

    Buy 100 SpaceX SS designed for suborbital flight. Inflatable re-entry heat shields and exoskeletons.

    Drop 10,000 space marines in the ultimate HALO jump anywhere in the world within 60 minutes.

  3. I agree with everything that you say, but I would like to add a detail. Steven Kwast claims that it’s not only about the satellite arena, but also medium to deep space, particularly between earth and the moon. I (personally) guess that Mars also will be important in the coming decades.

  4. Did I.Q.’s recently drop around here? I do systems consulting with the military, and the need for an independent force to address Chinese and Russian military operations in space was recognized in the 1990’s. Has anyone who commented on this article served in the military? Perhaps the Air Force?? NASA possibly??? Obviously not.

    So, okay boys and girls – allow me to school you a little on the Space Force: Forget Star Wars and Space Marines. The Space Force will be comprised mostly of Civilians and military Technical Specialists.

    The primary objective will be monitoring; which is crucial to the viability or our military. The Chinese and Russians are developing various weapon systems to kill satellites; which would cripple our military as most our systems depend on GPS.

    Another term you should learn (before making ridiculous and uninformed comments) is “Asymmetric Warfare.” This is a benchmark of the Chinese and Russian plan to attack the west (that’s you) prior to the outbreak of full head on war. Asymmetric Warfare doctrine would involve EMP detonations; destroying fiber optic nodes; and cyber attacks against our power grid.

    If that doesn’t wake you up, know that the Chinese, Russians, North Koreans, and Iranians are working together on this, and the U.S. Space Force is being developed specifically as a response to their hostile plans against the west. Picture a world with no Internet, no Phone, no power – and you crying because we didn’t develop Space Force.

  5. Wait, why would the national smoking age be raised in the NDAA? Something got tacked on in conference committee?

  6. Robots are a must for long term maintenance.

    If made robustly and versatile enough they can completely erase the need for on site human maintenance.

    Especially if you can operate using a sort of drone interface – like in Iron Man 3 when he operates his main suit by remote on Air Force One.

  7. Latency (time delay in comms) is always an issue with drones, if the situation is not immediate then fine, but if it is you have to deal with comms latency back and forth, coupled with possible delays caused by changing orders/rules of engagement at the control station may add up to an unacceptable loss in response time.

    From a support perspective drones are better, but from a response perspective people will always be the superior – at least until drone warfare systems have some degree of autonomy on a par with human pilots.

    If you are anything like me, the mere possibility of an AI controlled platform equipped with weaponry will give you no small degree of pause and discomfort – I wouldn’t go as far as to say SkyNet, but AI/ML systems can and do make mistakes even now, I would not trust anyone trying to sell such a system to say it is both ready and safe to be allowed autonomy, which no doubt every tom, dick and harry defense contractor will.

  8. Ah fair enough – even then that may depend a lot on what they want the drone control systems to do.

    The electronics on a modern fighter plane are the most expensive part (by some significant margin I gather), and with modern compute workloads diversifying to AI/ML/MchnVision the size may not necessarily match what you would expect of a consumer device.

    Plus cooling electrical components in space is not so easy without atmospheric airflow of course – the thermal apparatus for those control electronics could take up a fair bit of volume on its own, you would have to investigate the ISS solutions to get a good idea about that.

  9. I’m talking about the size of a computer to control a weapon, compared to the size of a pilot and life support system around him.

  10. “The FY20 NDAA recognizes space as a warfighting domain and establishes the U.S. Space Force in Title 10 as the sixth Armed Service of the United States, under the U.S. Air Force.”

    I don’t see this organizational structure lasting long. From space, aircraft and their bases are nothing more than targets. For that matter, Navy ships and ports are too. Nowhere to hide, no obstructions for line of site, bottom of the gravity well allowing for highly energetic application of firepower. The Navy and the Air Force could easily be made obsolete once enough assets are in orbit.

  11. “The bot could sit there, biding its time, for twenty years first, with no worries about background radiation”

    Even the more expensive semiconductors used by the military are not immune to radiation, and twenty years is a long time to be exposed to it without some sort of thicker shielding than you could get on usable something the size of a fist.

    For that matter, nothing of viable use other than a projectile would be the size of a human fist – just look a the size of a military air drone, they are smaller than manned jets but certainly not small, significantly larger than consumer drones by several times, and likely much heavier too.

    For maximum response you would need powerful thrusters and stored fuel for them, that much at the least would take up some significant volume.

  12. I imagine that the cost for standard air force, or navy aviators being simply stationed will be a sight less than any space equivalent though, merely getting them up there will cost millions even with SpaceX – and lets face it, the govmt is clearly still showing an insane preference for the more expensive ULS option thus far.

  13. Kind of obvious and Trump don’t often see eye to eye given what I have seen in the last 3 years – and wide support is a bit of a reach.

    The only true wide support comes from the MIC who stand to gain yet more of the already insanely bloated annual defnse budget.

    All of this is yet another money draining vortex scheme to divert funds away from services that actually benefit the public – education, healthcare and infrastructure.

    Money that will go into at best 5-10% of actual hardware and personnel costs, the rest will pad contractor pockets just as it has across the current military contracting schemes so far.

  14. Savvy and financing seem to be mutually exclusive where he is concerned – unless by savvy you mean not paying building contractors.

  15. But you didn’t write that. You wrote that it would be cancelled once Trump is out of office. If the idea has a wide support – which I assume – then it won’t matter if Trump is in office or not, and it won’t matter if it is a good or bad idea. Kind of obvious, don’t you think?

  16. Since this will be tiny, it rankled the Air Force and it’s unpopular outside of Trump’s circle, I think it’s highly likely it won’t survive. They’ll just rename it to the name it had before and not bother to appoint administrators to run it, this will be extremely painless.

  17. I don’t care who’s idea it was, but at this point in time, it’s probably a bad idea since it flies in the face of all the efforts to keep space demilitarized.

  18. Unless it’s “she” 🙂

    I’m not sure what “in advance” means. If the hatch on the enemy capsule opens and a figure in a space suit comes out waving a white flag while the US Space Marine has his button on the accelasezapper, will the .06 second latency with Earth Command make the difference between peace and WWIII?

    i’ll also go with the integration and maintenance angle offered by Jan.

    However I agree that a very high level of automation will be needed. I’ve been watching YouTubes on the cybernetics of the Apollo program, and it’s clear that that program provided a leading edge for computer hardware and software development (much more valuable than Tang!) Space Force needs may drive something similar in robots.

  19. Any american should be really happy that Trump has taken this step. I think that space – now that it’s cheap – will be the most important battle theater of the future.

    If you don’t separate the space force into a separate branch it will not develop quickly. By separating it into a new branch, the specialists of space ware fare will make the decisions, they will develop new tactics and new strategic considerations. It’s just as merited as having a separate navy of air force instead of having them being a part of the army.

    I am sure that this is not Trumps idea, but Trump made it happen. Kudos to Trump for this bold decision!

  20. The crews will integrate complex weapons systems in space, repair faulty systems and possibly retrieve enemy systems.

  21. Just like all the other bureaucracies that are folded in to other bureaucracies.

    This will be around for some time.

  22. For what ? What can a man do in a space war that a gadget the size of his fist can’t do with far quicker reaction times, at g forces that would turn him into jellymeat, and with no need for lugging around a few cubic metres of artificial Earth surface ? The bot could sit there, biding its time, for twenty years first, with no worries about background radiation, penalty pay rates, or talking to its family every few months.

  23. I would still favor the UNSC. Then I could get a cyborg calling itself a Spartan to shout, “This! Is! SPARTA!” Granted, I’m sure in a couple years there will be cyborgs who can do that, but… the fun aspect just wouldn’t be the same.

    Also, if we’re having Space Marines, we need Firebats. Etcetera.

  24. So you think it’s Trumps idea? He is just savvy enough to see that it should be financed now, rather than later…

  25. I guessing this won’t outlast Trump and that it will be folded back into the Air Force without a whimper.

  26. The same is approximately true of the Airforce, but that doesn’t stop it being a real and functional military service.

    (Assuming you don’t count members of the airforce flying in airliners just like anyone else.)

  27. I’m sure Elon musk is busy drawing up plans for the Martian Congressional Republic Navy (MCRN) as a counter measure to protect humanity

  28. “Strictly speaking, the Patrol is not a military organization at all.” “Sir?” “I know, I know—you are trained to use weapons, you are under orders, you wear a uniform. But your purpose is not to fight, but to prevent fighting, by every possible means. The Patrol is not a fighting organization; it is the repository of weapons too dangerous to entrust to military men.”
    ― Robert A. Heinlein, Space Cadet

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