On Space-Power Separatism
AIR UNIV MAXWELL AFB AL AIRPOWER JOURNAL
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In September 1997, Gen Charles A. Horner, USAF, Retired, commander of coalition air forces during Operation Desert Storm and later head of Air Force Space Command and US Space Command CINCSPACE, created something of a stir when he questioned whether the US Air Force should continue to run military space systems If the Air Force clings to its ownership of space, then tradeoffs will be made between air and space, when in fact the tradeoff should be made elsewhere. Although General Horner made his assertion based on budgetary considerations, his remarks encouraged Air Force officers who, using the original leaders of the US Air Force as role models, argue for a separate space service. Spacepower enthusiasts see themselves as modern counterparts to the early airpower visionaries and often draw parallels between the rise of airpower and the rise of space power. Both originated in a desire to occupy the high ground and maintain a commanding perspective of the surface battlefield. Air-to-air and air-to-surface combat arose and flourished in the flames of two world wars, leading eventually to the creation of independent air forces as air officers sought to set free a new and potentially decisive arm of military force from surface-warfare paradigms. If, as Billy Mitchell said, airpower is the ability to do something in the air, then one can say that space power is the ability to do something in space. Unfortunately, over 40 years after the first satellite orbited the Earth, we still cannot operate in space nearly as easily or routinely as air forces could operate within a decade of the Wright brothers first flight.
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
- Space Warfare