Wilson lays out future plan for Air Force

Rodiano Bonacci
Settembre 22, 2018

That competition is set to grow if President Donald Trump succeeds in creating a new "Space Force" as the sixth branch of the military, something he hopes to do by 2020. Air Force is only beginning to answer the who, what and where behind its huge proposal to create 74 new squadrons by 2030, the service's top leaders said Tuesday.

In June, Trump directed the Pentagon to create a "separate but equal" space force.

"To stand up a department that's responsible for recruiting and training and planning and programming and budgeting and all of the leadership requirements that a department has, it's a major undertaking", Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told the news outlet.

"The Air Force has a lot of authorities now to continue to accelerate defendable space so that we dominate and win", Wilson said.

The Air Force now reports 312 operational squadrons. "The first question was: 'What problem are we trying to solve?' It's that adversaries are developing capabilities to deny us the use of space".

Details of the Air Force's plan emerged on the same day that Wilson gave a speech on the state of the Air Force that called for a huge increase in fighter and bomber squadrons, adding ammunition to critics who say the service's focus on traditional aerial combat causes it to under-emphasize space.

Wilson also briefed on the importance of the mission in space, including a recent proposal to the Defense Department regarding the structure and responsibilities of a new branch of the Armed Services.

"It's reasonable that the Air Force is doing studies about its future", he said, as reported by Flightglobal.

Various outlets obtained a memo from Wilson - sent to Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan's office on Friday - which pegged the costs of setting up a Space Force headquarters and operations at about $13 billion for the first five years.

This new sister service branch would stand alongside the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, with a force of about 13,000 people.

About one-sixth of USA federal spending goes to defense, according to the Congressional Budget Office. But this reliance on space has also become a vulnerability - a dynamic that has not escaped the attention of competitors and adversaries such as China and Russian Federation, which have also bolstered their own space capabilities over the past two decades. "Now we are implementing the National Defense Authorization Act and its provision for a unified space command in line with the president's vision for a needed Space Force", Mattis said.

Wilson acknowledged that the Air Force's estimates would be further refined in the weeks and months ahead.

She specifically drew attention to the advances these countries have made in electronic warfare, hypersonics, and testing and said that the Air Force is responding by growing the force at a faster pace than in previous years.

Driven by these trends, the USA military has focused on improving its defenses in space so it can better defend against and counter an attack on its space assets.

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