Date: September 30, 2018
By: Jon Harper
LOS ANGELES — Much attention has been paid to the bureaucratic battle between the Air Force, the White House and Defense Department leadership over the composition of a new space force that President Donald Trump has proposed. But the Navy is also looking to play a major role in a revamped space enterprise, a top service official said Oct. 30.
The Air Force currently oversees about 90 percent of the Pentagon’s space portfolio. But Trump has called for establishing an independent military branch focused on space, as well as the creation of a new Space Development Agency charged with fast-tracking new capabilities, and a new combatant command to coordinate operations.
Defense Department leaders have been working on an organizational blueprint for what the new force would look like. Congress — which has to approve the creation of a new military branch — is expected to take up the issue in the coming months as it works on the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.
At the MILCOM conference in Los Angeles hosted by AFCEA and IEEE, Rear Adm. Christian “Boris” Becker, commander of Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, was asked about the implications for the Navy if the proposed space force comes to fruition.
“It’s a serious question and it’s a serious issue in front of us, and an opportunity as well,” said Becker, whose SPAWAR organization is the service’s acquisition lead for information warfare.
The Navy is dependent on space technology for a variety of critical capabilities including communications, position, navigation and timing, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, he noted. The Marine Corps and the Coast Guard are in the same boat, he added.
“The maritime services are reliant on space to operate across all phases of competition and conflict, and therefore we will be involved in space … from the requirements [generation] through the acquisition … and then into the operational use of space,” he said.
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