Space force are reality, the beginning of a new era
Launches US space forces, they will have 16,000 units
On the day of the release of the last chapter of Star Wars in US theaters, Donald Trump officially launches the US Space Force , the American space forces. It is the first new US military service in over 70 years, that is, since 1947, when the air force was separated from the army. “Space is the new world of combat in the war,” said Trump as he signed the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act at Andrew’s base, just outside Washington , which has over 700 billion dollars worth of defense, also establishing the new military unit.
«Against the backdrop of serious threats to our national security, American superiority in space is absolutely vital: we are still the leaders, but not enough. In a short time we will be much more», assured the president.
“This is the next big chapter in the history of our armed forces,” echoed Vice President Mike Pence. “An epic moment,” added Defense Secretary Mark Esper. The tycoon thus maintains another of its election promises and closes the week marked by the impeachment with two smiles bringing home the new North American commercial agreement (Usmca) and a spending bill of 1400 billion dollars which includes, in addition to the stellar budget for the Pentagon, also funds for the wall with Mexico.
However, the new forces were not created to send troops to fight in space but to neutralize any danger, such as the new generation missiles, and to protect US assets, that is the hundreds of satellites used for communication and surveillance. A shield therefore not only against the potential threats of Iran and North Korea – which in these hours has alerted the Pentagon for the possible launch of a rocket – but also of China and Russia, which are developing new cutting-edge space technologies . A return then to the Cold War line, which echoes Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars Program of the 1980s.
Earlier this month Vladimir Putin had already pointed out that US expansion into space poses a threat to Russian interests and requires an answer: “The American political-military leadership openly regards space as a military theater and intends to conduct operations there,” observed the Kremlin leader, who in recent months has already heralded a new hypersonic super missile . However, the new forces will not have their own department, as Trump wanted, and will be administered by the aviation secretary. They will operate under the wing of the US space command, SpaceCom, and will be led by its commander, General Jay Raymond. The space force will consist of 16,000 people, including military and civilians, but for the first year it will only have 200 employees and a budget of 40 million dollars.
The choice at the votes
With 377 votes in favor and 48 against, the House has authorized the total allocation of 738 billion dollars for 2020, 22 more than last year. The final version of the National Defense Authorization Act (Ndaa) is the result of a surprise, bipartisan vote between Republicans and Democrats so much that President Trump exulted on Twitter, which, as also reported by the CNBC , lets himself go to a ” wow “which underlines how all his administration’s priorities regarding defense, including the Space Force, have been approved.
Looks defense budget
Before going into the Space Force discussion, it is useful to take a look at the general items of the defense budget. As already mentioned, the appropriations increased by 20 billion, equal to 2.8% compared to the previous year; the majority of the funds (658.4 billion dollars) go to the programs of the Department of Defense and Energy, 71.5 billion are destined for military missions and 5.3 for the payment of damages from natural disasters.
Trump has increased the salary of the troops: the personal voice in fact has seen an increase of the funds equal to 3.1% and at the same time has also increased the paid holidays bringing them to 12 weeks a year. The NDAA also authorizes the allocation of 300 million dollars for Ukraine in the framework of the Security Assistance Initiative as well as funds to face the progressive threat posed by China.
The American Space Force
The decision to establish a new armed force dedicated to the military use of space was already in the election program of President Trump , who just last year, towards June , had officially launched the idea of the Space Force.
“I am here to order the Department of Defense and the Pentagon to immediately initiate the procedure necessary to establish a Space Force as the sixth branch of the armed forces” was Trump’s announcement at a meeting of the National Space Council adding that “We will have the ‘Air Force and we will have the Space Force. Separate but equal. It will be something very important. “
Starting from this last consideration by the US president, we intend to make the first reflection: the American decision is in contrast to what was undertaken by Russia , which brought together the Air Force and Space commands in one, thus rationalizing the hierarchical chain with the creation of Vks (Vozdušno-kosmičeskie Sily) the Russian aerospace force formerly Vvs (Voyenno-Vozdushnye Sily).
The idea had found internal resistance to the Trump administration, with James “Mad Dog” Mattis , then head of the Dod (Department of Defense) who had strongly opposed, also supported by the US Air Force chief of staff , the General David L. Goldfein for easily imaginable reasons: the USAF would have lost direct control rather than on space operations, on the management of the design of the assets related to space activity, such as satellites and, probably, even early warning radars ( early warning ).
It is no coincidence that the Space Force command was placed in Colorado Springs one step away from the Norad center of Cheyenne Mountain and where Peterson Afb (Air Force Base), which sees the nerve center of Norad and Usnorthcom, is already based, the unified command of the north armed forces.
Already in 2016 the SMF (Space Mission Force) had been created: a department framed in the 50th Space Wing based in Schriver (Colorado) placed under the direct control of the Space Command (Afspc) with the task of monitoring and making the best use of all military satellite systems and to take offensive and defensive actions aimed at maintaining American supremacy in this battlefield.
Trump’s measure completes the establishment of the “Space Corps” which since January 2019 are a department which, as well as the Marines depend on the US Navy, is subject to the Air Force Department but operates independently with the task of supervising to all space acquisition programs: from training to equipment through organization.
The last step was, on August 29 of this year, the creation of the US Space Command , a new command led by a general of the USAF (John “Jay” Raymond) who served as a precursor for the implementation of the Space Force.
Among the other tasks of the new Space Force we also find the monitoring of orbiting satellites that are connected to US defense systems scattered in space, and the initial allocation of 72 billion dollars will most likely force to make abundant use of staff synergies between that of the army and that of the USAF.
Immediately after the passage to the American Senate, which is expected to take place next week, the executive will have to create the figure of head of space operations to direct the new military body, and the chosen representative will answer hierarchically to the commander of the USAF , but will sit with the same rank on the Council of the General Staff at the Pentagon.
Space at the center of the war of the future
Whether it’s a separate command like the American one, or a unified command to that of the Air Force like the Russian one, one thing is certain: Space Warfare , the war in space, represents one of the last frontiers, together with Cyber Warfare , of war modern and for the first time even NATO under the pressure of its European members, intends to follow the same path as Russia and the United States.
The Secretary-General of the Atlantic Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg , in fact said , during the recent London summit, that the space will for the first time constitute an operational domain for NATO and that “this will allow NATO planners to request the allies to provide to provide capabilities and services, such as those of communication satellites “.
“Space is part of our everyday life on Earth. It can be used for peaceful purposes, but it can also be used aggressively, “continued Stoltenberg.” Satellites can be hacked, disturbed and even armed. Anti-satellite weapons can break the communication network and other services on which our society is based, such as air transport, weather forecasting or the banking network. Space is also essential for the Alliance’s defense and deterrence capabilities, which include navigating, gathering information and identifying missile launches. “
We are still far from futuristic scenarios that see the use of space troops armed with laser rifles (even if the road seems to be the same) but space has become one of the many theaters where the world powers confront each other militarily trying to obtain a supremacy that reflects on the land assets of the Armed Forces.