The Air Force is 71 years old today, and its birthday wish list is a doozy. The idea was not welcomed by the Pentagon, which already was resisting efforts in Congress to create a Space Corps within the Air Force like the Marine Corps within the Department of the Navy.
The Air Force is "really pushing" for rapid cyber acquisition capabilities in line with the branch's existing rapid capabilities office and the one being stood up under its Space Command, Skinner said during a panel on cyber operations in a multi-domain environment.
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".
AFA said it welcomes some aspects of the administration's proposal, such as re-establishing the U.S. Space Command. The service says it will need roughly 40,000 airmen and personnel to achieve these goals by the 2030 timeframe, but has not provided details on equipment, aircraft, additional bases, and other issues.
The Air Force has a rich history of employing cutting-edge military tech. Its annual Air, Space, and Cyber conference is now underway outside Washington, D.C.
Wilson said now, the Air Force has returned to an era of great power competition.
Yesterday, Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson spoke at the conference and spelled out her views on "The Air Force We Need".
There isn't a "playbook" to follow on how to create a new service, since the last time it occurred was with the creation of the Air Force in 1947. When the White House announced plans to establish a Space Force in August, Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan declined to give a figure but said it would be in "the billions". Because of this, the Air Force must focus on readiness and acquisition to prepare for present and future operations. "Currently there are no space arms which are fundamental to setting up an armed service". "The first question was: 'What problem are we trying to solve?' It's that adversaries are developing capabilities to deny us the use of space". That is especially critical in space programs, she said, because the operators have to be able to influence equipment design.
The Secretary of the Air Force "cited growing threats from Russian Federation and China" as reasons for the increase. The idea has met with mixed reviews on Capitol Hill so far.
The Air Force's pathfinder software lab, Kessel Run for the Combined Air Operations Center during military events, has proved the Defense Department can do continuous software updates, such as extreme programming and test-driven development, providing a template for other programs. John McCain, was not convinced and blocked it. McCain's SASC successor, Sen.
"We propose a Department of the Space Force constructed in the form of an equal military department with a headquarters containing a Secretariat and General Staff to support a Service Secretary and a Chief of Staff and necessary subordinate officers", the memo says.