The Air Force Wants More Planes - and a Lot More Money

Olive Hawkins
September 22, 2018

Wilson added the Air Force is fully committed to ensuring the USA continues to lead in space.

Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson delivers her "Air Force We Need" speech during the 2018 Air Force Association's Air, Space and Cyber Conference in National Harbor, Md., Sept. 17, 2018.

Defense Secretary James Mattis said in August that the Pentagon's cost estimate process is "underway now", speaking at his first press conference since Trump tasked the Pentagon to create the new sister service branch.

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.

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Wilson would strongly oppose that because she believes space acquisitions should be owned by a military service. "This proposal places the priority squarely on lethality and rapidly fielding space capabilities".

The Air Force analysis did not include a price tag and Wilson declined to speculate on costs. They also question why Wilson is asking for 13,000 new people to form the Space Force, instead of moving more existing personnel into the new service. "Our adversaries know it, and they're developing the capabilities to deny us the use of space in crisis or war and we are determined that that not be allowed to happen". The "Air Force We Need" has 386 operational squadrons by 2030.

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Air Force photograph by Tech. 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 legislative debate won't begin until next year, when the administration has said it will send a formal legislative proposal to Capitol Hill. She estimated the cost at $12.9 billion over five years. "Congress has constrained space capabilities, not the Air Force, by underfunding the service".

The headquarters is likely to be at the Pentagon.

The idea of a Space Force remains controversial, although support is growing for a separate unified combatant command, U.S. Space Command.

The Air Force is also working hard to recover from its maintainer shortage. The NRO is believed to have the largest budget of the 17 USA intelligence agencies. "Help us break new boundaries and continue to dominate in space".

Driven by these trends, the US military has focused on improving its defenses in space so it can better defend against and counter an attack on its space assets. The Air Force is uniquely equipped to provide increased command and control, as well as other missions, a critical component in maintaining military superiority throughout the world. He proposed creating a Space Development Agency to oversee satellite acquisition, and establishing a new top-level position in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

"The U.S. Air Force has led the armed forces in establishing America's space capability such that it is unrivaled in the world", the association said.

Wilson suggested her proposal is only the opening salvo.

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