Defense Leaders: Space Force Would Build, Accelerate American Space Capabilities

A United States Space Force would build on and accelerate the advantage the U.S. Air Force has given the American military in space, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan told the Senate Armed Services Committee today.

Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson; and Air Force Gen. John Hyten, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command, joined Shanahan in testifying before the committee.

The United States is dominant in space now, but that margin could shrink, the defense officials said in their testimony. Establishing the U.S. Space Force will enable the Defense Department to gather up the disaggregated parts of the military space effort in one organization and change what has become a “slow, bureaucratic approach,” Shanahan said.

Five Senate-confirmed DOD officials are now responsible for more than 10 organizations developing space capabilities, Shanahan pointed out. This system fails to integrate across the department and capture the cost synergies of standards, the secretary said.

Competitor Capabilities

The department needs to move fast, because potential adversaries are moving quickly, too, the chairman told the senators. “Last month, I testified before you that China and Russia had developed capabilities to contest our ability to operate in all…

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