by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Trump administration’s recently called for the creation of a “Space Force” by 2020, but the independent military service dedicated to war fighting in space is likely several years away, according to retired Air Force Lt. Gen. David Deptula of the Mitchell Institute.
The Pentagon unveiled plans last week to establish several key components of the new Space Force, including a new combatant command for space, a new joint agency for satellite purchases, and a new warfighting community that incorporates space operators from across the services—none of which needs approval from Congress. The creation of a sixth military branch, however, first requires legislative action. …
… The Pentagon is set to submit a legislative proposal for a Space Force early next year.
“Standing up a combatant command is appropriate, but the conditions have not been met yet to stand up a separate force,” Deptula told the Washington Free Beacon. “If you want to set up an armed service, you have to have an organization that has the capacity to conduct combat operations equivalent to the other services in space and from space and we don’t have that yet.”
Deptula said the administration is also missing a “demonstrated, unique, actionable theory” regarding space power and space warfare, which is necessary for strategic coherence.
Citing the separation of the Air Force from the Army in 1947, Deptula said the military demonstrated conclusively that air power could achieve strategic results independent of ground forces. Unlike in World War II, the military has yet to test space capabilities to the extent that lawmakers would be convinced of establishing an independent military branch.