Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson addressed the importance of the Air Force’s space mission during the 2017 Potomac Officers Club Space Innovations, Programs and Policies Summit in Washington, D.C., Oct. 18, 2017.
“The reality is space is becoming a common domain for human endeavor,” said Wilson. “There were different times in our history where this was predicted, but this is no longer just a prediction.”
To address this reality, the Space Warfighting Construct was developed by Air Force Space Command to evolve the space architecture, guide the development of future space systems and change the way the Air Force employs current capabilities against adversarial threats.
Air Force senior leaders agree that space is going to be contested in any future conflict and the U.S. has to prepare for that as a space-faring nation.
“Our potential adversaries know how dependent we are on space,” Wilson said. “I can’t think of a mission conducted by any of the military services that does not in some way connect with what’s going on in space. Our adversaries know that. As a result they have been developing technologies to deny us the use of space.”
In order to meet the demands of space in joint operations, the Air Force needs more resources and more acquisition flexibility, she said. The service’s approach to gain more resources is to normalize, integrate and elevate space, which is why the Air Force has established a deputy chief of staff for space and proposed a 20 percent increase for space in the President’s budget this year.
The Air Force will continue to work with the Defense Department to innovate, modernize and work with allies and industry partners to ensure national security interests are not degraded.
“Integration of domains at high speed is absolutely vital to the success in future combat operations,” said Wilson. “Speed and surprise from multi-domain conflict are the way we are going to win in future conflict. That means air, space, ground, sea, undersea and cyber – the nation that rapidly integrates all of those domains will inflict surprise on their enemy and prevail. That’s what we are trying to do with respect to space.”