Commanding Space: The Story Behind the Space Force

Commanding Space: The Story Behind the Space Force

(techno digital tones) (bold percussion music) – We may even have a Space Force. – [Narrator] When President
Trump first mentioned the idea of creating a
Space Force in March 2018 it caught many by surprise. – You know I was saying it
the other day because we are doing a tremendous
amount of work in space. I said maybe we need a
new force, we’ll call it the Space Force, and
I was not really serious. And then I said what a great idea, maybe we’ll have to do that. – [Narrator] It sounded
to many like a random off the cuff idea and
it provided great fodder for late night comedians. – The President said
that he wants to create a new branch of the military that would patrol outer space. (laughter) And get this he wants to call it. – Space Force. (laughter) – Space Force. (laughter) It sounds like what my
grandma calls Star Wars. – [Narrator] But behind the
scenes the Trump administration was tapping into a debate
that had been simmering for more than two decades. He just happened to
bring it to the forefront of the public discourse
for the first time. The idea of warfare in space dates back to the beginning of the space age. (beeping) After the launch of Sputnik in 1957, American and Soviet engineers went to work developing weapons that
could defeat satellites. (blast off sound) (cheering) The first anti-satellite
test was conducted in 1959. An American B47 bomber
launched a Boulder-Ryan missile at a de funked US satellite. IN the quest for military superiority the United States became a
leader in space technology. – That lead was built up within
the late 50s and early 60s. Now when we separated
space within the DOD, within the nation into three
separate categories of space. We had civil space, which is the most obvious
part of space , which is NASA. We had Department of Defense space, which was mostly focused
on nuclear war fighting at the time. And then we had a national
intelligence side of space. And each of them were
their own cadre of people. But they interchanged a lot. The amazing this we did
is we created these giants of space, who most of us revered today. Who understood the
technology, the doctrine and the strategy of space and
could execute it across any of those three organizations. – [Narrator] In the wake
of the first gulf war, and the collapse of the Soviet
Union the way the military used space began to change. Through space forces that helps us command and control our conventional
forces around the world. It provides our conventional forces intelligence, surveillance,
and reconiscience capabilities. And further more it allows
us to place procession guided munitions on potential targets. I would argue it is essential. And that’s one of the
reasons why Russia and China are developing a full range
of anti-satellite systems. They understand how dependent
our conventional forces are on outer space derived
data and they are developing capabilities to deny us
access to that information. – We started to go ahead
after the end of the cold war But we lost that singular focus from the Office of the Secretary of Defense. We put in place personnel
structures within our Department of Defense space activities that actually inhibited the growth that we had early in the space age. – [Narrator] How the National
Security Space Enterprise was organized to meet
these new challenges. And some began discussing weather a new military service might be necessary. So in 1999, Congress
created what became known as The Rumsfeld Commission,
to study the issues. (quiet orchestra music) General Fogleman was one
of the commissioners. – Like any of these things
after it bubbles and boils for a while the Congress
gets engaged in it. And so they wanted and
independent outside group but yet a group of knowledgeable people to address this whole idea of organization management in national security space. That was really what we were supposed to get together and do. Secretary Rumsfeld was
chosen to lead this effort. – [Narrator] Congress
tasked the commission with accessing the cost and
benefits of establishing an independent military
department for space and a space corps within the Air Force. – They also address this issue about weather or not the Air Force was capable of fostering the development, the professional development
of the human beings that are involved in space, and weather the Air Force was capable of really fostering the
growth of doctrine and concepts, tactics, techniques and procedures and other things. – [Narrator] In January
2001, the Rumsfeld Commission issued its final report to Congress. – We pretty well came down
I think on the idea that in the not too distant future
we may have a space corps but it will probably be like
the Marine Navy relationship would be with the Air Force. That was about as far as
the Rumsfeld Commission was kind of willing to go the thing. Then 911 happened. (sirens) And so I think the focus
on the recommendations coming out of Rumsfeld Commission
were just kind of lost. – We waited for years
for the Air Force to take the appropriate action on it’s own. It really looked like the
Pentagon was going backwards. Because, ironically
enough the Pentagon had a Space Command from about 1985 to 2002. Then in the Iraq and
Afghan wars we started not paying as much attention
to our space assets. – [Narrator] In 2006
Congress ordered a new independent review of the National Security Space Enterprise. What become known as
the Allard Commission. But before the commission
had finished it’s work China shocked the world
with an unannounced destructive anti-satellite
test, in January 2007. – As a result of that test
there have been thousands of incidents where pieces
of debris from that test have come close to China’s own satellite. Putting their satellite at risk. – The timelines in space are very short. It’s very difficult to know
when something went wrong and why it went wrong. – Nations like China started
launching ASAT missiles that could destroy virtually
any satellite above our heads. And we just sat on our hands. In fact we allowed space R
and D budgets to go down. – So what Russia and China are doing it’s not like they are doing
things that we can not do. It is just the fact that
they are now doing it. – [Narrator] In 2008 the Allard Commission finished it’s work and issued
it’s report to Congress. General Fogleman was
the only person to serve as a commissioner on both the Rumsfeld and Allard Commissions. – So in the Allard
Commission we kind of focused on how could we come up
with a single organization that would have requirement authority, acquisition authority,
oversight of production, the fielding. How could we do that? And we came up with
this idea that what you really did was under Secretary
of Defense for Space. The other thing the Allard
Commission was very, very strong on was on the
requirement to have somebody responsible for the
training of space experts Weather they were in the
intel community or they were going to be space operators. – If you take the Rumsfeld Commission and the Allard Commission
and all of the others. If I had to translate
today what the problems are I would say we have three
basic problems today. One is a war fighting
readiness problem and I believe that is the
major problem that we have. We are not ready to fight a conflict that either begins in or extends into space. We also, I think, we have a
problem with unity of effort. What Rumsfeld would have
called seams, exist today. It exists operationally and it exists in the preparation of our forces and capabilities to be able to fight in the kind of environment we’re going
to find ourselves in today. And then third I think, we
have a capabilities issue. I think those are the three problems that if I had to define
the problems to go solve those are the three. – [Narrator] But following
the Allard Commission report little changed within
the Department of Defense in terms of how national
security space was organized. By the spring of 2017,
some members of Congress were ready to take action. – The culture of the Air
Force remained the same. Much more focused on fighter
jocks and letter jackets (laugh) than on a space cadre that
could really do the job and keep up with the advances
made by other nations. So we thought after eight
or ten years of waiting on the Air Force to do something that we’d prod them a little bit
to take stronger action. Mike Rodgers and I came
up with a bi-partisan proposal that passed the
House Armed Forces Committee overwhelmingly. It was received somewhat
reluctantly by the Senate, but was included in the National
Defense Authorization Bill. The start to creating the
separate group of space professionals within the
Department of Air Force kind of like the Marine Corp is in the Department of the Navy. But people whose job, whose career, whose promotion opportunities
would be centered on space excellence. That’s what we were looking for. – [Narrator] The Air Force argues against creating a Space Corp. Air Force Secretary, Heather
Wilson, told reporters quote, “This will make it more complex, add more boxes to the organization chart, and cost more money” end quote. The Space Corp proposal ultimately did not pass the Senate in 2017
but the idea got a second chance in 2018 from an
unexpected supporter. – Very importantly I am here by directing, the Department of Defense
and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a Space Force ad the sixth
branch of the armed forces. – Certainly I was surprised. I have never heard a
President of the United States mention a Space Force
before, and it had an interesting impact to the overall debate. – Space Force. (cheering) Space Force. – It sounds fantastic and
fanciful and clearly people want to know what’s the uniform and is there a band that goes with the new branch of the military? – We re going to have the Air Force and we are going to have the Space Force. Separate but equal. – I think a lot of people
anticipated it would be something like star ship troopers, in that we are going to
have guys parachuting out of satellites, I don’t
even know how that would work. But I think that’s what the thinking is or they are thinking it
a suddenly huge change for the United States
and we’re shifting to suddenly having a national
security space capability. And a lot of it is that people don’t know. They don’t know that
the US military has been involved in space from the
beginning of the space age. They don’t know that
it’s part of our enabling for how our national
security establishment works. And they don’t understand what
exactly is being promoted. And to be fair, a lot of
that is because the branding has been terrible on the Space Force. – As their actions make clear, our adversaries have transformed space into a war fighting domain already. And the United States will not
shrink from this challenge. – [Narrator] I think the
idea behind the Space Force is that it would be
able to more accurately put US National Security
capabilities in space into one key place and really push for it, as opposed to having it be up to the United States Air Force
which frankly is still very air plane centric. – [Narrator] What the Trump
administration ended up proposing to Congress in 2019
is not a separate department, as the president had first suggested. Instead, it ended up
proposing a separate service that would remain under the
Department of the Air Force much like the Marines Corps falls under the Department of the Navy. This proposal is similar
to the Space Corps proposal Congress considered in 2017. Importantly the Space
Force would not include space organizations or activities from the National Reconiscience Office or other intelligence agencies. The military, Congress and
outside experts remain divided on the best way to proceed. – We’ve been chasing
something for well over 20 years in space
organizationally that I think does not have an organizational solution. I believe that if the
space missions remain with the Air Force changes have to be made. I could embrace a Space
Corps if it was structured correctly, I am not sure
that the Marine Corps model is exactly right. – I used to say today we
are air and space force. But we are moving toward
being a air and space force and we will eventually
a space and air force. I think the idea that you are
going to try and put together a National Space Force that
excludes the intel committee is folly, you can’t do that. I just don’t think you can do that. – We should not be making
decisions like this on the fly. – You would carry that assignment out I would be very greatly honored also. Where is General Dunford? – Here. (applause) – General, got it. – [General}Yeah. – Let’s go get it General. (applause) – We need a robust
national debate to examine the pros and cons of such
an important decision. Because the last thing
we want to do is make rash decisions today. In five years from now have
to rethink and rejigger the entire organization. – The biggest misconception
is this was a wild idea that came out of the
mind of the president. That has no basis in reality. And that is just wrong,
the fact of the matter is this is a well argued
question that has taken the times of Secretary
of Defense and heads of armed services committee
over the last 25 years. – In previous incarnations
this was really discussing reorganizing what already existed. There’s bits of space in number of different military branches. And the idea that you
would not only call it Space Force you would be
elevating this to another military branch. It has the affect with
the language but you also need to be thinking
carefully about bureaucracy. – So I think China. I think it depends on the translation, but I think they already do have something that is very close to the Space Force. The Russians, they’re kind
of all root place in terms of what they do for their
military space capabilities. But I think there is
definitely probably an interest in having the ability to
play to their own domestic audiences, that they are keeping
up with the United States. – I often tell people, hands down, the US has the best
Air Force in the world. We should ask ourselves,
would that be case if the Air Force was still
subjugated to the Army? And the likelihood is that
it probably would not be. People need to understand
that military space is critically important to
everything the US military does. And that we will loose
soldiers, sailors, and airmen. We will loose lives of
without the use of space for the advantage of the military. We will loose lives of non-combatants without the use of space to the military. We will loose lives of our adversaries that are unnecessary to be lost. – [Narrator] Ultimately, Congress will determine the fate
of the Space Force. – I haven’t meet anybody yet who hasn’t been to the briefs that
doesn’t agree with this. So we need to enhance space
capability in America. And we can’t just turn it
over to the folks who love to pilot fighter jets. So, I think there is a huge
bi-partisan coconscious here It’s a question of working
it through the system. – We’ve said enough, let’s sign Let’s sign. – [Narrator] In the
history of the stand up or not stand up of the US Space Forces. People are looking for a Billy
Mitchell or a Hap Arnold. That person may not
exist, it may never exist. I want folks to understand that this is a this is not a single individuals crusade. This is a group of individuals from all political persuasions. All who have come together to try to create something for the nation. (bold orchestra music)


  1. I found this video extremely interesting. I am curious to see how things develop over the next few years.

  2. We need a Space Command to conduct war fighting operations in space and we need a Space Force to recruit, equip, train and maintain space forces to deploy under Space Command on order to conduct war fighting operations. This already is the same way the USAF, US Army, USMC, and US Navy operate. They provide military forces on order to the Combatant Commands to execute assigned missions. The use of space as a domain will continue to grow and its importance will continue to grow. Our enemies recognize this and have moved out to attack this objective. We need to get our act together and do the same NOW!

  3. @15:49 "I often tell people 'Hands down, the US has the best Air Force in the world.' We should ask ourselves, 'Would that be the case if the Air Force was still subjugated to the Army?' And the likelihood is that it probably would not be." Ironically, that statement is followed by footage of an A-10, which is still flying only because of pressure placed on the Air Force by Congress at the behest of the Army, and that situation is one which is often quoted by Space Force proponents.

  4. 14:10 “We should not be making decisions like this on the fly…we need a robust national debate to examine the pros and cons of such an important decision. Because the last thing we want to do is make rash decisions today and in five years from now and have to rethink and rejigger the entire organization.” – Frank Rose, Senior Fellow Brookings Institute. Yes…because floundering on a decision for the past 20 years has worked so well. Spoken like a true bureaucrat. For Pete’s sake, let’s move out already!

  5. Global /International Space Force to protect the planet and our moon is the only way to go. Period. To accomplish on our on would be economic suicide.

  6. The shadow US government have had a secret space force since the late 70"s and earliy 80's with the Reagan Presidency(SDI -Star wars project) also known as "Solar Warden". It is to bridge the gap since then covering up the money spent since then and making it now accountable.

  7. Plus it gives them a Legitimate Platform and reason to bring to surface some of the Black ops aeronautics projects

  8. I don't know why its such a surprise the US has had military operations going on in Space since atleast the 1960's which is all public record most notably the United States Space Command formed in 1981 to "institutionalize the use of outer space by the US Armed Forces"

  9. WikiLeaks revealed Astronaut J. Edgar Mitchell was emailing John Podesta about Extraterrestrials he was in contact with who were demanding Earth Space be de-militarized, so they could bring (false) promises of "zero point energy." We certainly dodged a bullet defeating HillDawg – but no doubt of pressing concern now was that these ETI Mitchell was talking with now obviously knew the location of our Planet. It makes sense The Trump Administration would immediately rebuild our Military & spend billions to Militarize Space with US Space Force.

  10. We'll be fighting extraterrestrials and spreading war and hate out into the universe in no time! Here we come Galaxy! 🚀👽

  11. An American Colony on the Moon. Hell Yea!!!
    Also I could see the Navy breaking away with their own space force. Ships/satellites launching off from their ships.

  12. How about the President ordered the creation of a Space Force, and you dutifully carry out his orders since you weren't elected to make those decisions. You're the US Military; you can make anything work and for all your doubts of POTUS's wisdom, he's giving you a direct order. A chance to start a new branch with all the lessons learned from the others with less beauracratic baggage could be EXACTLY what we need to be technologically nimble enough to dominate in space for a thousand years.

  13. Learn to build force structures, work forces, institutions of learning, command experience; get and keep and nurture the best people and the Space Force will be naturally unstoppable.

  14. Spending $738 billion dollars on space force instead of helping the poor and rebuilding the world in peace? Bunch of lunatics!! 😡👎

  15. We`re not surprised We know eventually America and our friends are as one group to Protect Earth from deep deep encounters not only against enemy from unknown but to protect from domestic enemy who`ll Try to defeat our freedom. We`re not having it God Bless America is Flawless Victory is our`s to enjoy forever .

  16. TRUMP. IS. THE. GREATEST. POTUS. EVER !!! USA. WINS. EVERYWHERE !!! Never give to. Illegal aliens, nationalism ! USA ! USA ! USA ! Never. Filthy raping illegals !

  17. This already exists. You really think NASA just stopped being innovative in 1969. And only built big, bulky, ugly shuttles thereafter? Bitch please.

  18. lol…changing an organization is just changing the charts…..and moving line items…keee – the model will be fine if they move into their own

  19. crazy Trump harmless barking about his SPACE force,,no military will reveal any new secrets,,, ,,mad dog Trump swim in a Bathtub with life jacket.and says it´s a space force life jacket….hahahahaha crazy Trump will love my CHINA

  20. Anyone else here been to the nut hut put to sleep, couldn't get phone calls four days… Only to then be walked up to and told welcome to the space force. What if space force is our mind? Too crazy am I the only one… I could go on and on. I know it sounds crazy

  21. People like Frank Rose are why things never get done. He envisions himself being front and center of a discussion he knows nothing about. The decision to create the Space Force have been talked about since the 1950s. Frank would have us continue talking while China and Russia and probably India, Pakistan, and a host of other nations forge ahead with capabilities to knock our satellites out of the sky. That would be ok with Frank, though, because he probably thinks that if the US were to fall to China they would give him some elevated position in government.

  22. This deliberate apathy on the part of the Obama administration was meant to allow China to ascend. After all, they are fellow Communists along side the Democrats!

  23. We will lose the lives of Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen and Coast Guardsmen, and even Civilians, without The United States Space Force.🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🦅🗽⚔️

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