17 September 2018
The Air Force Association Position on the Proposed Establishment of a Space Force as an Additional Armed Service
Air Force Association
The Air Force Association position and rationale on the proposed actions regarding a new organization and the associated proposals for DOD space operations are as follows:
The US Air Force has led the Armed Forces in establishing America’s space capability such that it is unrivaled in the world. Today, to split up the well-integrated set of air and space capabilities that have been organized to seamlessly contribute to America’s military capabilities would result in more harm than good.
Key space achievements delivered by the US Air Force:
General Hap Arnold—the father of today’s US Air Force—in his 1945 Report to the Secretary of War, suggested the future possibility of delivering projectiles from "true space ships, capable of operating outside the earth's atmosphere." In the 1950s and 60s, General Arnold's proteges in the Air Force (Spaatz, Norstad, LeMay, Schriever) developed and deployed the Atlas and Titan intercontinental missiles that became the foundation of the US strategic deterrent—as well as America's manned space program. Atlas was the rocket that launched John Glenn and later Mercury astronauts into orbit. Titan launched all of the Gemini astronauts. Before Apollo 7 in October 1968, all but two of America's astronauts had launched into space on Air Force rockets.
In the late 1950s, the Air Force pioneered overhead intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) with the Samos program, America's first reconnaissance satellite launched on a USAF Atlas before there was a National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). In 1958 the Air Force put America's first communications satellite in orbit (SCORE) with a USAF Atlas. In the early 1960s, the Air Force took the lead on defense satellite communications. From DSCS to MILSTAR to WGS, the Air Force has provided launch vehicles, supporting infrastructure and most of the communications satellite bandwidth for DOD and the rest of the national security community. In the 1970s, the Air Force developed and began deployment of the global positioning system before there was a Space Command.
Today the US Air Force is the steward of the following key space capabilities for America:
Force Enhancement: Precision Navigation and Timing to include Global Positioning Satellites (GPS); Satcom Environmental Monitoring; Surveillance and Threat Warning; Command and Control; Information Operations
Space Support: Launch operations; Satellite operations; Modeling Simulation & Analysis; Force Development Evaluation
Space Control: Surveillance; Counterspace; Other
Mission Support: Communications & Information (ground segment of space systems); Civil Engineering (ground infrastructure); Logistics; Security Forces; Space Training, Education and Exercise
Force Application: None
As Air Force Chief of Staff Thomas D. White said in 1958, "Air and space are not two separate media to be divided by a line and to be readily separated into two distinct categories; they are in truth a single indivisible field of operations..."
 For an extensive explanation of these conditions see
the white paper, “Organizing Spacepower: Conditions for
Creating a US Space Forcer,” http://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/a2dd91_2ff8dfe95e694f80b4139d05650843ed.pdf