Pentagon Releases Initial ‘Space Force’ Plan

This week, Defense One released the details contained in a 13-page internal document outlining the Pentagon’s early plans for the creation of a “space force” as a sixth branch of the United States military. Given the agency’s proposed function, the agency would fall under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense (DOD).

 The document is clearly still a work-in-progress, as evidenced by sections still containing placeholder text, but nonetheless provides a glimpse into what the plan would look like, if successful. According to GovExec, the space force would have a number of foci, including “space situational advantage; battle management command and control of space forces; space lift and range operations; space support to nuclear command and control; missile warning; satellite communications and position, navigation and timing.”

As for how the agency will interoperate with other agencies that have related missions, the document says that existing services will “retain organic space capabilities uniquely designated to support that Service’s or organization’s mission” and that “each Service may retain a cadre of space experts that serve as liaisons to advocate for and potentially operate space-related capabilities unique to its respective domain.”

Thus on missions – for example, the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile – that is only “tangentially” space related, the new space force would not have primary jurisdiction or responsibility, thought he document notes that “Inclusion of these missions into the Space Force may be reevaluated in the future, as necessary.”

Estimates regarding the size and budget of a new space-focused branch of the military are still unclear, and not thoroughly outlined in the document, though the plan notes “that the new branch would have a secretary and chief of staff, who would be a member of the Joint Chiefs. It also talks of creating a Space National Guard and Space Force Reserve.”

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson last month estimated that 13,000 additional staff and roughly $13 billion in funding would be necessary to stand-up the agency over the first five years.

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