Space Combat Capability...Do We Have It?
AIR UNIV MAXWELL AFB AL AIR FORCE RESEARCH INST
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When General Welsh took the reins as the USAF chief of staff, he acknowledged the nation s dependence upon the space domain as it relates to our national security. In an interview published in Strategic Studies Quarterly, he highlights several asymmetric advantages Only the Air Force gives our decision makers the capability and capacity they need for air superiority, nuclear and global strike forces, ISR intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, rapid global mobility, and command and control operations, all enabled by space and cyber forces. I truly believe that . . . those are the areas where we must continue to focus. He adds, I believe the air, space, and cyber domains are likely to be those most contested in the future. 1 It is difficult to ascertain with certainty that the DOD and Air Force are postured for tomorrow s fight in the space domain. A comprehensive, coherent plan to deter adversary action and protect our space assets remains elusive. The 2011 National Security Space Strategy states, Space capabilities provide the United States and our allies unprecedented advantages in national decision-making, military operations, and homeland security. . . . Space systems allow people and governments around the world to see with clarity, communicate with certainty, navigate with accuracy, and operate with assurance. . . . Maintaining the benefits afforded to the United States by our operational capabilities in space is central to our national security. 2 The 2010 National Security Strategy asserts that maintaining these benefits means ensuring the U.S. military continues to have the necessary capabilities across all domains. 3 Are the nation s space assets postured for tomorrow s fight Does the United States have a comprehensive, coherent plan to deter adversary action and protect our space assets in place or in development As for many difficult questions, the answer is yes and no.
- Space Warfare