Monday, January 13, 2014

Let's Focus on the Earth-Moon System, Shall We?

When we have space ships the size of even the Navy's smallest Cyclone patrol ships, then I'll agree that the Navy should control a space force.

Instapundit's comments section are alive with debates over whether the Navy should control a future space force as these authors propose, as opposed to the Air Force in their follow-up article on abolishing the Air Force.

When I read their article on abolishing the Air Force, I rejected it and proposed putting the Air Force in charge of space, too, while migrating some missions to ground forces--the Army really likes having its own air force of recon and armed drones to add to their helicopters:

My advice for the Air Force is to aim high, as their old slogan said. NORAD went from being the North American Air Defense Command to being the North American Aerospace Command. Space Force still has a nice ring to it.

The aim high link is to an 8-year-old post of mine urging the Air Force to move into space rather than fighting the Army for missions the Army can handle now as technology pushes air power down to even platoon level (with small recon drones).

Many of the pro-Navy control comments basically say that since science fiction authors refer to space forces as "navies" that we should, too.

Others make the case for the Navy by noting how the Navy is more used to crewed vessels spending long times at sea, and so this makes sense for space, too. Unless they are arguing that only submarines officers and crews can adapt to space, I'm not sure how the people of the Navy are better than the Air Force.

Oh, and this is a small thing, but in what universe would it make sense to put ship-sized vessels in Earth orbit? Battlestar Galactica is a science fiction show and not the five-year Navy ship-building plan.

And I have issues with that ship, anyway.

I won't even bother with the cooperative versus militarized nonsense the linked article makes when arguing for the Navy. As if the Navy's approach is inherently peaceful despite their weaponry. And as if the Air Force couldn't adapt to long-endurance space craft rather than planes with missions lasting hours.

But I tell you what. I'm a reasonable man. As I noted in the Instapundit comments, when we get a warp drive, we can put the Navy in charge of space. Until then, I'd leave it to the Air Force

Heck, to be super reasonable, I'll say that once we have vessels the size of our Cyclones involved in inter-planetary travel at whatever speed we manage, give that task to a Navy-derived space service.

But for the Earth-Moon system where space assets will be used to directly affect military operations on Earth (or the Moon), leave that to the Air Force. All this talk about how navies make sense for inter-stellar travel over long periods of time is really jumping the gun, just a tad, don't you think?

Aerospace Force is the way to go in my lifetime, I'm sure.

And damn those authors for making me defend our Air Force. They're our guys and I love them (and the air supremacy they provide) to death, but I was Army affiliated, after all.

UPDATE: And then the Air Force goes and pisses me off by viewing the Army as a bigger threat.

The Army had intra-theater airlift planes because the Air Force often couldn't provide longer range inter-theater planes to meet Army needs. The Air Force didn't like the mission and didn't like having the smaller C-27s to do that job.

So, not wanting the planes, the Air Force looked to get rid of them. But wouldn't let the Army take them!

In the end, the air force, as the army feared, decided that it did not really need the C-27Js. Then the air force let it be known that their C-27Js were up for grabs and available to anyone but the U.S. Army. The army finally retired the last of its elderly C-23s in January 2014. That’s a double victory for the air force as now the army has no twin-engine transports.

Aerospite Force, it sometimes seems.