Air Force: Space Force would cost $13 billion over 5 years

Gen. Maryanne Miller incoming Air Mobility Command commander receives the oath of office from Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein during a promotion ceremony at Scott Air Force Base Illinois Sept. 7 2018. (U.S. Air Force

Gen. Maryanne Miller incoming Air Mobility Command commander receives the oath of office from Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein during a promotion ceremony at Scott Air Force Base Illinois Sept. 7 2018. (U.S. Air Force

The memo, which was reviewed by the Los Angeles Times, represents a fundamental shift for Wilson, who opposed creating a space force until Trump publicly embraced the concept in June.

In a Wednesday interview with CNBC's Morgan Brennan, Secretary Heather Wilson, the Air Force's top civilian, called her office's proposal for the new branch "a bold idea to dominate in space".

To get there, however, the Air Force may have rethink how it treats acquisition programs, said Lt Gen John F. Thompson, commander of the Air Force Space Command's Space and Missile Systems Center. Details of the proposal, including the cost, will be included in the President's FY2020 budget request to Congress, which must authorize the establishment of a new military department and fund it. Saying that growing threats from China and Russian Federation call for a substantial increase in US air power, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said Monday that she would like to see 74 more squadrons deployed by 2030.

At a panel discussion, Air Force acquisition heads emphasized the importance of rapid prototyping acquisition authority, described in Section 804 of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, particularly regarding software development. Its annual Air, Space, and Cyber conference is now underway outside Washington, D.C.

Some took to social media asking how the Air Force plans to do all this, especially with an uncertain financial future.

Yesterday, Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson spoke at the conference and spelled out her views on "The Air Force We Need".

The memo estimates that the space force would add 13,044 personnel to Pentagon rolls, including more than 7,900 space force officers and enlisted service members.

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An internal Air Force memo put the cost of establishing a space force at nearly $13 billion over its first five years, the Associated Press reported. The increase would bring the Air Force to about 717,000 personnel, including the Guard and Reserve.

Wert said that Section 804 was "amazing" for agile software development where the end user helps shape and iterate the capability, because it allows fielding of minimally viable products in a few months.

"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", the AFA said in a statement on Monday. She told those in attendance that "to face the world as it is, with a rapidly innovating adversary, the Air Force we need should have about 25 percent more operational squadrons in the 2025 to 2030 timeframe than the Air Force we have". This would mean the Air Force would number over 725,000 by 2030. Standing up a separate space bureaucracy amplifies the problem by driving more money to a headquarters function, not space operations.

It does support reestablishing the unified combatant command for space, however.

If Congress moves to create a Space Force, the additional billions of dollars needed to stand up a new service would have to be funded at the same time the Air Force is seeking a significant increase to the size of its combat force in response to growing demands.

Congress will be the ultimate arbiter of whether a new department is created or not. The United States has four military services (the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps) under the auspices of the Department of Defense whose primary responsibilities are to train, organize and equip their forces. The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), then chaired by the late Sen.

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