I listened to and read Vice President Mike Pence’s remarks on establishing a United States Space Force by 2020. As reported by Fox News:
“Vice President Pence called Thursday for America to assert its dominance in space as he made a direct appeal to the Pentagon for a sixth military branch serving this purpose — and revealed the Trump administration wants to create the “Space Force” by 2020. In a speech to the Defense Department, he said that countries such as Russia, China, North Korea and Iran are pursuing ways to “bring new weapons of war into space itself.” “As their actions make clear, our adversaries have transformed space into a warfighting domain already and the United States will not shrink from this challenge,” he said. “Under President Trump’s leadership, we will meet it head on — to defend our nation, and build a peaceful future here on Earth and in space.”
I must admit, hearing about a proposed US Space Force brought back memories of that rather pathetic 1979 James Bond film, starring Roger Moore as 007, called “Moonraker.” Y’all remember, the villain, who ended up turning good guy at the end was nicknamed Jaws, played by Richard Kiel?
Okay, I am ready for your anger, angst, and whatever, but I do not agree with creating another branch of our Armed Forces, and here is why. First of all, we only have four branches of our Armed Services, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force. The US Coast Guard used to fall under the Department of the Treasury, until we created the Department of Homeland Security, where it now resides. Therefore, this would be our fifth branch of our Armed Services. Now of course, creating a new branch of our military must get congressional approval, and appropriations. But, here is my question: do we really need a new branch of our military?
The military serves to defend our nation, fight, and win its wars along the full spectrum of combat operations, low to high intensity. We, in the military, have broken down the world into what is called Geographic Combatant Commands — Pacific, European, Southern, Africa, Northern, and Central — as well, we have specialized commands such as Special Operations, and Transportation. Additionally, we created a new command, US CYBERCOM in order to combat a new area of the battlefield: cyberspace. I fully understand our creation of the CYBERCOM, and its specified function. Understand, it is a new command, not a new branch of our military to engage with a new battlespace threat.
This is how I see the Space area of our battlespace. At this time, the space battlefield is managed by our US Air Force, and that is how this should continue. If anything is needed, it is an examination of how we reshape the capability, and capacity, as well as roles and responsibilities, of the Air Force to meet this new threat. What should happen is a reevaluation of service branch responsibilities in the overall battlespace.
Let me give you an example: we do not need to create a new branch of our Armed Services called the Deep Sea Force. The US Navy is our premier maritime force, and they have the capability, along with the United States Marine Corps, to engage in full-spectrum operations in the littorals (where land meets water), to the shoreline, in the brown water, out to the blue water, and below. That is how their battlespace has been defined.
Our US Army also has a defined battlespace, but has the flexibility to augment from the littorals inland. Actually, the Army in our history has more amphibious assault landings than our Marine Corps, the largest of course being Operation Overlord, D-Day, Normandy.
What should be determined are the future roles, and battlespace, for the US Air Force. We need the Air Force for air interdiction, air superiority, and global air transport, but also, we can define the Air Force’s mission to expand above certain “altitudes,” and into near space. What we need, instead of a new Space Force, is a definition of the new, required, capability, and therefore grow the Air Force to meet these new requirements.
I have long advocated for the Air Force to relinquish the close air support (CAS) mission back to the US Army, much the same as the Marine Corps has its own fixed-wing close air support as part of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF). Turning the CAS mission back to the Army makes all the sense in the world, and affords better support and communications for the Army ground Brigade or Battalion Commander to have ready support in these current combat engagements, and for training. This would also open up billet, personnel, space for the US Air Force to expand its role and mission into near space, which is what it appears is the need here, and requirement.
A new Space Force means new resources, uniforms, infrastructure, and all the accompanying force structure. We do not need all of that. A common sense approach would be to reevaluate the battlespace responsibilities of our US Air Force, and expand their mission into near space — deep space is about exploration, and that is what NASA is to do.
If there is one thing we do not need, it’s a Republican presidential administration creating more government agencies. In response to 9-11, the Bush administration did so with the Department of Homeland Security. Perhaps we should just stop overreacting, take a deep breath, and conduct a mission analysis, and assess what the new capability is, or the requirement needed — not a new agency, or branch of our military.
We do not need the US Space Force; we have an US Air Force. All we need to do is define their battlespace responsibility, and enable them to meet the new mission requirement.
During his 22 year career in the United States Army, Lieutenant Colonel West served in several combat zones and received many honors including a Bronze Star, three Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals, one with Valor device, and a Valorous Unit Award.
In November of 2010, Allen was elected to the United States Congress, representing Florida’s 22nd District.
West is a commissioned officer in the Texas State Guard. He’s Fox News Contributor, former Director of the Booker T. Washington Initiative at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Senior Fellow at the Media Research Center, contributing columnist for Townhall.com, and author of Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Family, Faith and Freedom, and, Hold Texas, Hold the Nation: Victory or Death, and the forthcoming We Can Overcome.