Friday, March 10, 2017

In Space Nobody Can Hear Your Budget Request?

An author advocates for a new Space Corps as an independent service because the Air Force has done a poor job of exploiting space. As a first step, the author wants the Space Corps as a separate entity within the Department of the Air Force. Perhaps.

The Air Force started out as the Army Air Corps, so there is a little irony in the fact that a part of the Air Force might break off because the Air Force wants the space elements to support the primary missions of the Air Force.

Added bureaucratic study value is that the Army is still unhappy with Air Force efforts to support the Army which is why the Air Force was once created as the Army Air Corps.

And I got over the loss of this force which started out in the Army Signal Corps.


Space operations are becoming ever more critical to American and global economic interests and military power projection to a degree that warrants a devoted service. The expertise required to operate in space is so fundamentally different and specialized, and the space-minded perspective so altogether different, that it will never serve the nation to have this expertise and perspective under-resourced and buried under another service.

I'm not sure about the idea of a Space Corps as a separate service. But I can travel at least part of the way with this proposal given that I have long called for the Air Force to "aim high" for space (and I refined the missions in subsequent posts), becoming an Aerospace Force (and that's my most recent post on this).

If that Aerospace Force has two components--an Air Force and a Space Corps--I'd be content to see how that works out. Remember, The Army Air Corps didn't have a problem becoming the Army Air Force that grew powerful under the Army.

When the Air Force has trouble supporting ground forces as it focuses--when it is allowed--on control of the air, will a separate Space Corps just be a separate service that ignores the ground to control its environment?

I continue to think that the Air Force should aim higher by moving into space while giving the ground support function (and budget) back to the Army, so the Army has its own air support like the Marines have now.

While I wondered what the Army would do with this authority in that Aerospace Force post above, by surveys the troops like the helicopters, so the force structure might not change much.

And that Space Corps--whether part of the Air Force for a while or as part of a newly focused Aerospace Force--should have a "ground" force component trained to operate in space or on the moon.

But right now I prefer to have the Aerospace Force include space rather than calve that off for a separate service.

The only way, right now, that I support a Space Corps as a separate service is for a service that has responsibility for space outside of the Earth-Moon system.

Once the focus of the service isn't to support missions on the ground, it will need to separate off non Earth-Moon system assets into a separate true space service.

Then we can have a really fun debate on whether it should be modeled on the Air Force or Navy. Science fiction traditionally calls such a force a space navy, with large ships and large crews. But if automation and cost means that space ships have only a small crew running automated onboard systems and unmanned space vehicles sent off for missions, couldn't the Air Force be the model?