Space Force

21 November 2019

U.S. Space Force – Lions, Tigers, Russians, and Aliens – OH MY!

By Terry R. Hill

Introduction

Okay, so the headline was totally clickbait, but now that I have your attention, I’d like to talk about a new and greatly speculated proposed new addition to the U.S. military portfolio. Is it going to be good for our nation, or will it only amp up international tensions?

When I was approached to write this article, I decided it would be best to understand where we are today with the creation of the U.S. Space Force by first understanding the events that transpired to get us to today. Luckily, human behavior is overwhelmingly linear, so knowing where we are, and how we got here, will give us a good basis of where we will be going. And in telling the story with much speculation and suspicion surrounding it, I have chosen to use direct quotations from the source whenever possible to cut down on the likelihood of perceived artistic license on my part.

With the introduction of the latest U.S. presidential administration, there came the renewed interest in a U.S. Space Force. Yes, a renewed interest. Unlike what most believe, Trump’s call for a U.S. Space Force is not a new concept. It all started almost two decades ago in 2000, when Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defense under Ford, proposed the idea of a Space Force to set the stage for U.S. space dominance in the 21st century. However, timing and other brushfires, along with a public still suffering from PTSD due to the fear of the potentially near-apocalyptic Y2K bug, nothing came of Rumsfeld’s proposal.

One year later, in 2001, Donald Rumsfeld, reinstated as Secretary of Defense under Bush, was asked to chair a commission per direction of a congressional mandate regarding how the United States organized its national security space assets. The commission was comprised of representatives from space, military, and intelligence agencies and was tasked with analyzing the current state of affairs and providing actionable recommendations.

Not entirely surprising in retrospect, upon completion of their analysis, the commission recommended in the short term, creating a Space Corps within the Department of the Air Force, and in the long term, a separate military department for space military operations quite reminiscent of Rumsfeld’s proposal the year before. Additionally, it was recommended that the Air Force and National Reconnaissance Office space programs be merged, along with an amendment to U.S. Code Title 10, in order to give the Air Force congressional responsibility for air and space operations as part of the short-term activities. Full details can be found in Report to the Commission to Assess United States National Security Space Management and Organization.

Fast forward sixteen years and four presidents later, in 2017, lawmakers once again began encouraging the Air Force to submit budgetary recommendations to create a Space Corps. In the following year, as reported in Military.com, Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Alabama) and William “Mac” Thornberry (R-Texas), first created language in the National Defense Authorization Act that would have required the service to stand up a “U.S. Space Corps,” with Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn) joining the effort. It hit a roadblock months later, after Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein, Wilson, and even then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis publicly downplayed the idea, citing costliness and organizational challenges.

Military.com reported later on June 18, 2018, that President Donald Trump had directed the Pentagon to begin planning for the Space Force: a sixth independent military service branch to undertake missions and operations in the rapidly evolving space domain. Purportedly the U.S. Space Force would be the first new military service in more than seventy years, following the establishment of the U.S. Air Force in 1947.

The president said {the Space Force} would bolster national security and the economy with the creation of jobs.

“It is not enough to merely have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space,” Mr. Trump said at the White House.

He also promised that the U.S. would “return Americans to the moon” and would eventually send people to Mars.

“I’m hereby directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a space force as the sixth branch of the armed forces,” announced Trump.

He went on to direct federal agencies to “implement a state-of-the-art framework for space traffic management.” However, before any of this new sixth branch of the military would come into reality, the U.S. Congress would need to pass a law authorizing the required funding, which would later provide an equally formidable challenge.

Later, while speaking ahead of a meeting with the National Space Council, Trump announced, “This time, we will do more than plant our flag and leave our footprints. We will establish a long-term presence, expand our economy, and build the foundation for the eventual mission to Mars.”

And with this statement, full-blown confusion set in within the military, private sector, and NASA alike regarding the seemingly overt combining of a military agenda with that of economic and civilian exploration. Historically, all three had remained separate with pure civilian space cooperation in space dating back to the mid-1970s and the joint space efforts between NASA and the Soviet Union with the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project.

On August 9, 2018, Vice President Mike Pence cited plans to create a separate combatant command, U.S. Space Command, in addition to an independent service overseen by a civilian secretary with the Department of Defense, which released additional details about the planned Space Force. However, government officials at the time stated there were not enough details outlining how large the new proposed branch of the military, proposed to be established by 2020, would be or even an estimated cost to stand it up and subsequent required sustaining budget.

In August 10, 2018, the BBC reported an email was sent as Vice President Mike Pence hailed the proposed Space Force during a speech at the Pentagon.

He said the agency would be tasked with winning wars in this “new battlefield.”

“President Trump wants a SPACE FORCE - a groundbreaking endeavor for the future of America and the final frontier,” read the email from the Trump campaign.

“As a way to celebrate President Trump’s huge announcement, our campaign will be selling a new line of gear.” At that point, the White House Gift Shop was already taking preorders for Space Force commemorative coins. It was thought that once Space Force merchandise hit the Trump campaign store, it wouldn’t be long before it started showing up at Trump rallies.

The BBC went on to say it was a brilliant bit of marketing from the folks who brought you the ubiquitous “Make America Great Again” hats. After selecting a logo, people were then asked to donate money to the Trump campaign. The email came hours after Pence gave a speech at the Pentagon, where he argued that the U.S. must invest in creating a new force in order to counter Russian and Chinese operations. Afterward, in an apparent sign of approval, Trump tweeted: “Space Force all the way!”

So with these email remarks and timing, the administration further muddied the waters of the intentions for the Space Force—battles on a new front, protection of commerce, flag and foot prints, taking people to Mars, and now a revenue stream for an election campaign.

Eight months later, lawmakers indicated they remained skeptical of the Pentagon’s latest proposal (proxy for the president’s decree) to stand up a U.S. Space Force.

The consensus from the officials, which included Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, Strategic Command’s Air Force Gen. John Hyten and Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, was that in five years’ time, there will more threats in space, possibly even beyond adversaries such as Russia or China who are rapidly expanding their space presence.

But after nearly three hours of conversation between top Pentagon officials and members of the Senate Armed Services committee, most lawmakers were still questioning how a new layer of bureaucracy and the costs associated with reorganization into a new branch of the armed forces would solve problems such as overspending, acquisition delays, and overall national security challenges.

The Pentagon is requesting $72.4 million in fiscal 2020 to bring together manpower and resources at the headquarters level and $2 billion over five years to fund the Space Force. The Pentagon is asking Congress for another $150 million for the Space Development Agency (SDA) and $83.8 million for U.S. Space Command, which would be the military’s 11th unified combatant command. (Military.com, April 11, 2019)

The following month, Military.com reported that a $750 billion defense spending proposal was passed by the committee, which would fund the Defense Department’s $72.4 million request to stand up the Space Force as a new military branch under the Air Force. But leadership and how it would be staffed still remained a question. The Senate Armed Services Committee’s proposal was only the initial step, as the House Armed Services Committee was still preparing its defense-spending authorization proposal, and the two committees would have to reconcile any differences before Congress could vote on a final funding plan.

On June 13, 2019, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) voted to establish a United States Space Corps within the Department of the Air Forc,e which was then made part of the committee’s markup of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. After a nearly twenty-one-hour session, the committee passed the NDAA 33-24, as was published by Space News.

The Space Corps amendment was offered by the HASC Strategic Forces subcommittee leaders Chairman Jim Cooper (D-Tenn) and Ranking Member Mike Rogers (R-Ala). The proposal is similar to what the committee proposed in the 2018 NDAA, including the name of the new space service, U.S. Space Corps, rather than the Trump administration’s preferred name, U.S. Space Force. According to the amendment, the “Space Corps will be organized, trained, and equipped to provide freedom of operation for the United States in, from, and to space. The Space Corps will ‘protect the interests of the United States in space; deter aggression from and to space, and conduct space operations.’”

As of the release of this article, nothing substantive has progressed.

Possible Scenarios

Given the broad confusion over the true purpose of a military Space Force (defense of free commerce with local aliens against space pirates) and its relation to NASA and human exploration, it is left to the reader to determine the intent until explicit details are provided, if ever. However, until that time, I will explore some of the credible scenarios, and some not so much.

An overhanging question that should be imposed upon the following scenarios stems from my years of civil service to NASA. It is one of the predominant questions asked of me, both publicly and privately, in justifying NASA’s efforts in human space exploration. “Why should the government spend so much money on human exploration of space when it’s much more simple, and therefore cheaper, to just send probes and robots?”

While a discussion of NASA’s official stance and my personal opinions are ripe for future articles, the salient point is indeed that if one is to send humans into space, a very clear and specific mission objective must be identified and the risks to human life accepted, along with the complexity and corresponding cost associated with achieving these goals. Otherwise the human and cost risks cannot be justified for long.

  • Threat of Alien Invasion

Leading the lineup of reasons for the current need of a Space Mobile Infantry … er, Space Force, and in the vein of covering the discussion fully and not addressing possible motivations for a Space Force, albeit highly improbable, and the growing coverup and conspiracy community, alien invasion will be addressed here.

Let’s face it, if an alien species had the technology to arrive at our doorstep within a generation or two, they would be technologically so far beyond us, literally anything we could drum up wouldn’t hold a candle to their capabilities. We would be chimps armed with sticks standing against the Imperial Fleet. It would be like Independence Day, except without a handy virus and a happy ending.

So even though humans are a scrappy bunch, and at times ingenious, this would be a nonstarter for any known threat and would make no sense in terms of return on investment for an unknown threat. Enough said.

  • Threat of Impending Asteroid Impact

Again, a highly improbable scenario, where plucky human astronauts can jump into space and take care of rocky threats to our planet, such as those presented by Hollywood with Deep Impact and the even less probable and laughable Armageddon. It is a worthy cause, and in this author’s humble opinion, a significantly important investment against the very real threat of Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) or Near-Earth Asteroids (NEAs). Current detected objects 140 meters and larger are around 41,000, and the number grows each year.

NASA’s recommended Asteroid Redirect Mission, initially proposed by NASA in 2013, aimed to develop the operational technology to not only allow the strategic placement of asteroids for mining and astrogeology research, but also to redirect the NEO away from Earth if it were to ever threaten the planet. However, NASA was directed by White House Space Policy Directive 1, issued Dec. 11, 2017 to cease development and close down the program.

Military backing or otherwise, this is not seen as a credible justification for the new branch of military.

  • Threat of Space Pirates

While the concept brings to mind some combination of Pirates of the Caribbean and the 1984 movie by the same name, more recently the idea was brought forward by United States Senator Ted Cruz in May of this year, who was caught off guard by the public’s reaction to the rationale as to his support of Trump’s call for the Space Force.

During a hearing of the Senate Subcommittee on Aviation and Space on Tuesday, Mr. Cruz said: “Since the ancient Greeks first put to sea, nations have recognized the necessity of naval forces and maintaining a superior capability to protect waterborne travel and commerce from bad actors.

“Pirates threaten the open seas, and the same is possible in space.

“In this same way, I believe we too must now recognize the necessity of a Space Force. To defend the nation, and to protect space commerce and civil space exploration.”

After he was mocked online about galactic buccaneers, he took to Twitter to swipe at “snarky leftists making fun of my comments.” (BBC)

While his intentions may be well founded, as discussed later, they were poorly framed, and at this time any “pirates” that may exist now or in the near future will not be wearing space helmets or flying the Jolly Roger.

  • Creating a Perceived Threat to Establish a Presence, and a New Perceived Military Dominance a.k.a. Military Field of Dreams

In the game of warfare, there are offensive moves, defensive measures, strategic planning, tactical actions, and it can all be clouded by hiding information in plain site, whitewashed by intentional misinformation and counterintelligence. So when we enter the realm of this scenario, one must take a critical yet jaded eye at the rationales provided.

First addressing the information and rationale available to the public, here is a typical sample we see from Defenseone.com:

“The National Defense Strategy (NDS) has two pieces to it: it says you have to compete with China and Russia and prepare for conflict with China and Russia,” said Mara Karlin, a former deputy assistant defense secretary for strategy and force development. “Those are different. The way you would manage and develop your force is different depending on which one you are biasing towards.”

“It’s clear that the Pentagon is focused on the competition piece of the strategy, says Karlin, who now runs the Strategic Studies Program at Johns Hopkins’ School for Advanced International Studies. “But that leads me to the question: What do you mean by competition? You can drive a truck through the idea of competition.” The NDS emphasizes a cross-agency approach to the problem, calling for “the seamless integration of multiple elements of national power — diplomacy, information, economics, finance, intelligence, law enforcement, and military.” Throughout its unclassified public version, the strategy highlights the importance of U.S. alliances and partnerships in “expanding the competitive space.”

“The willingness of rivals to abandon aggression will depend on their perception of U.S. strength and the vitality of our alliances and partnerships,” it reads.

So we see here a perceived or promoted amelioration over the status quo with a promise of increasing the security of commercial ventures to not-yet-realized threats from Russia and China. While this specific language doesn’t explicitly call out a need for a Space Force, the language found here is almost identical to that in the legislative language put in for justification along with the same case of foreign characters. Again, by folding the threat into a possible future commercial sector, it now engages people at a more visceral level of the threat of impacting their corporate or personal pocketbooks.

Now addressing the not so publicized strategic thinking that is happening outside of the limelight, the following was reported by Military.com and talks about planned military exploitation analogous to West Point and terrestrial warfare.

The Schriever Scholars Program is the first of its kind. Its inaugural class began last August, with students—mostly majors—scheduled to graduate next month. The program is competitive and selective. Garretson said the next applicant pool contains more than double the 13 available spots.

“There’s never been a year-long course to train space strategists before, so this is truly an innovation,” he said. The scholars program is funded in part by Air Force Space Command, as well as Air Education and Training Command. The hope is that mid-career officers who take the year-long course will excel in their careers, potentially offering expertise in top leadership positions later on.

“Some of our graduates are going exactly where I want them to—the new U.S. Space Command, the strategic planning side in Air Force Space Command, the National Space Defense Center. … But over time, my hope would be to have a Schriever Scholar as an assistant on the National Space Council staff, a liaison to [the U.S. Department of] Commerce, NASA, in Congress,” as well as the other services, Garretson said.

The program is about more than figuring out how to protect American assets in space. Garretson and the officers he teaches study decades of U.S. power and technological advancement and have applied new concepts of space exploration to theories of what the space domain will likely look like 50 years from now. War games and exercises are played throughout the course, and the officers travel to Washington, D.C., to meet with top officials and think tanks. They also visit the annual Space Symposium in Colorado to see the newest technological advancements and equipment.”

  • Threat of Foreign Space Force

With this scenario, we venture further down the road of what comes within the realm of possibility. But harkening back to the discussion of if and why humans are sent into space, this again makes the discussion more about unmanned foreign aggression, and less of the space equivalent of Red Dawn. Looking at it in that framework, the possibility and probability factors begin to converge and is almost like a plot arc to the following discussion points.

  • Active Offense Against and Defense From Foreign Space Assets

Military efforts in space are not new and came about after the onset of humans breaking the barrier of the Earth’s atmosphere. As soon as the Soviet Union and the United States began placing satellites in orbit with the intentions of spying on the other, programs were initiated to develop methods to remove such foreign assets. Examples, historical to the present, of nations with access to space who have quite publicly demonstrated their capabilities to destroy their own space assets with the not-so-subtle intent of communicating their ability to the world.

The Soviet Union, on October 27, 1967, had a successful anti-satellite launch and successful delivery of a cloud of shrapnel that resulted in the destruction of the target and a second on April 28, 1968. Further tests were carried out against a special target spacecraft, the DS-P1-M, which recorded hits by the warhead’s shrapnel. A total of twenty-three launches have been identified as being part of the test series. The system was declared operational in February 1973.

On September 13, 1985, the U.S. first demonstrated its anti-satellite technology with the Vought ASM-135, based on the AGM-69 SRAM with an Altair upper stage. The system was carried on a modified F-15 Eagle, which deployed the missile and successfully intercepted the intended satellite. Then again, on February 21, 2008, the U.S. Navy destroyed the malfunctioning U.S. spy satellite USA-193 using a ship-fired RIM-161 Standard Missile 3.

Jan. 11, 2007 China’s Fengyun-1C weather satellite via Chinese anti-satellite device created a mess of fragments fluttering through space.

March 27, 2019 India, via its “Mission Shakti,” became the fourth country to intentionally destroy one of its own satellites with a hit-to-kill missile-defense interceptor.

Of course, developing systems to destroy in-orbit satellites using the kinetic kill method makes no long-term sense with regard to an all-out military engagement, as the resulting and continually growing debris cloud around the planet would manifest in the Kessler syndrome and greatly limit, if not halt, future space operations and exploration.

Besides all-out physical destruction of space assets, denial of service, as has been demonstrated by internet hacking practices, would be disastrous for both civilian and military activities alike. Navigation and associated technology using satellite Global Positioning System (GPS) was first utilized by the U.S. military and only later permitted for civilian use. Today, it has become integrated with almost every element of our everyday lives, from mobile phones to vehicle on-board navigation systems. However, in the last decade, the ability to jam or spoof (tricking receivers into believing bad data) satellite data and services has now become a growing issue, with even Iran and North Korea joining in demonstrating their capabilities and willingness to engage in these activities. (Defense News, April 2018)

The very real possibility of denial of GPS service in the battle area is being taken very seriously by the U.S. Navy, to the point where they are now teaching their crew so that Navy officers will still be able to navigate across the seas accurately. (Digital Trends, February 2016) Additionally, there was an internal NASA email action to identify technology and operational systems utilizing GPS, which might be at risk if an interruption of service were to happen.

A prime example of hacking space assets from terra firma happened in 2008, when a cyberattack on a ground station in Norway let someone cause twelve minutes of interference with NASA’s Landsat satellites. Later that year, hackers gained access to NASA’s Terra Earth observation satellite and did everything but issue commands. It’s not clear if they could have done so but chose not to. (MIT Technology Review, June 26, 2019)

President Ronald Reagan’s proposal of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI)—a.k.a. the “Star Wars program”—was a safeguard against the most terrifying Cold War outcome: nuclear annihilation. On March 23, 1983, he called upon the U.S. scientists who “gave us nuclear weapons to turn their great talents to the cause of mankind and world peace: to give us the means of rendering these nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete.” It can be argued that when Regan threw down a gauntlet of this size, he released the military genies of the United States and the Soviet Union, and later Russia, both of which can never be returned to their bottles and have led, through logical eventuality, to what the proposed Space Force today.

There are rumors China and Russia have been developing space-based laser systems for anti-missile and anti-satellite destruction since the U.S.’s Star Wars program, which ultimately was unable to deliver on its promises due to the technology limitations of the time and the reduction in perceived threat due to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. In 1993, the US SDI Organization was renamed Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) by the Clinton administration, and this was accompanied by a shift in emphasis from national missile (global) defense to theater (regional) missile defense. The action effectively collapsed the SDIO into the BMDO, of which the BMDO was added to the SDIO in 1984. Yes, confusing.

  • Operational Military and Covert Activities

GPS and communication satellite technology has become the cornerstone of modern military operations, from beaming live feeds from the battlefield to piloting remote UAVs across enemy landscapes to guiding smart bombs down ventilation shafts in Iraq. Modern real-time warfare at any location on the globe would not be possible if the current constellation of operational military and communication satellites where not whirling overhead today.

Covert orbital activities have been the mainstay and staple of the military for space-faring nations since the dawn of the space race. Additionally, as any savvy strategist will tell you, it is always better to compromise your opponent’s system of communication without them being the wiser than to overtly shut them down. This was used by most notably by Churchill during World War II, despite the collateral damage, for which the British public had to pay the price.

With hacking of systems, terrestrial or otherwise, evolving at a near geometrical rate, both offensive and defensive measures are employed constantly by all sides. And since much of the current hardware in orbit today was built and deployed before the modern age of cyberterrorism and space treats, many of these assets are completely “open” to any who can reach them. This is not just limited to cyber access, because most satellites do not even have proximity sensors, and thus are vulnerable to manned and unmanned physical access by a “visiting vehicle.”

In November 2016, the Commercial Spaceflight Center at AGI, an aerospace firm, noticed something strange. Shortly after it was launched, a Chinese satellite, supposedly designed to test high-performance solar cells and new propellants, began approaching a number of other Chinese communications satellites, staying in orbit near them before moving on. It got within a few miles of one—dangerously close in space terms. It paid visits to others in 2017 and 2018. Another Chinese satellite, launched last December, released a second object once it reached geostationary orbit that seemed to be under independent control. (MIT Technology Review, June 26, 2019)

Such physical threats could range from installing hardware to allow the asset to be seized and controlled when desired by a hostile entity, ranging from spoofing of data to shutting down the system such that it mimics a run-of-the-mill hardware failure. And don’t forget the even more creative activities such as painting said target satellite either white or black, causing it to freeze or overheat, depending on which vulnerability is being exploited. And again, it would not appear to have been tampered with, achieving the hostile agenda.

In Closing

In reality, it is a likely combination of much of what has been discussed. Except for the asteroids and aliens, of course. To quote the rationale as stated from the U.S. Department of Defense (February 2019) US Space Force Strategic Overview:

“They {adversaries to the US} are also rapidly developing advanced space capabilities to enhance the lethality of their military operations, increasing the likelihood that U.S. and coalition forces will need to defeat the space capabilities of adversary forces in order to prevail in a potential conflict, to protect lives, and to secure the interests of the United States and its allies and partners. In short, space has become a war-fighting domain.

The National Defense Strategy (NDS) recognizes great power competition with China and Russia as the central challenge to U.S. national security and highlights space as a critical domain in which this competition will occur. In the words of the NDS, ‘the reemergence of long-term strategic competition, rapid dispersion of technologies, and new concepts of warfare and competition that span the entire spectrum of conflict require a Joint Force structure to match this reality.’”

Note that last sentence. It’s important, as it is reminiscent of the true nature of the Cold War with the Soviet Union.

“The United States faces serious and growing challenges to its freedom to operate in space. While the United States would prefer that the space domain remain free of conflict, we will prepare to meet and overcome any challenge that arises. Left unchecked, these challenges will erode U.S. military advantages gained over the past several decades. It is no longer a question of whether the character of warfare is changing, but rather how the United States should strategically reorient itself to deter aggression and be prepared to fight and win future wars.”

What we see is a less glamorous manifestation of the sales pitches presented in Washington D.C. and via media events. At least in the near term, there will likely not be a cadre of military astronauts sent out into the black sea of space to do covert things and fight foreign aggressors on the dark side of the moon. But rather it will be a specialized branch of the military, and while not as sexy as those in Starship Troopers, they will be a natural evolution of past and current military space activities (spy satellites, GPS jamming capabilities, overt and covert neutralization and compromising of foreign assets, etc.) and largely be a continuation of the current unmanned activities. However, it is worth noting the existence of the X-37b program of the Air Force and how it could be retrofitted to support a small crew for a short time in space.

In theory, this will allow the military to better focus on a specific space agenda without being in budgetary competition with terrestrial needs. They would bring in or develop needed technology to provide a checkmate to a legitimate growing threat to U.S. space assets. Critics say this, at best, will turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you build it, they (the enemy) will come to meet the challenge. While there is a level of correctness in that line of thought, one only has to look back into history to see how this has been a typical and reoccurring narrative of our species, like it or not. While this author is anything but a war hawk, the level of international space technology, dropping costs to access space, and the increased accessibility to space (militarily and commercially) must not be watered down by the lack of daily personal impact of foreign aggression.

Stepping through each of the different scenarios behind the ultimate motivation for creating the Space Force illustrates that one cannot look for a singular causation, but rather must accept the real end goal of taking control “of the high ground.” This principle has held true from ground assaults (where the term was first born) to air and seas. And now that there is a critical mass of assets in place to defend and a growing number of actors vying for establishing themselves on that high ground, we see the nation now taking a more active role to achieve this end. Even through less direct channels such as the July 5, 2019 Commercial Solutions Opening (CSO) Office of the Secretary of Defense, Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) Department of Defense solicitation “seeks solutions for a self-contained and free flying orbital outpost.”

Educational systems and the media today largely drive people to think in absolute and binary terms. Black or white. Good or bad. Us or them. Democrat or Republican. For us or against us. But in reality, the world is not that way. In my time at NASA, I have learned and witnessed all of the significant failures the agency has experienced were not due to just one event, but rather a stack of contributing causes which eventually reached a critical mass. Similarly, the reality of the forces driving the creation of the Space Force are not singular, but rather a multifaceted combination of many of the ones discussed here.

Let us all just hope that this new sixth branch can exhibit the benevolent nature that has been demonstrated through its older sibling of international civilian space cooperation over the last five decades.