Is a Space Corps in our future?

We might be years away from the creation of a separate Space Corps. But that doesn't mean there aren't opportunities today to support the mission.

The Department of Defense is no stranger to organizational change. One recent change is CYBERCOM’s elevation to a combatant command. But there’s another possible DOD restructuring that may shake up the Air Force.

The House Armed Services Committee passed its version of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, which would create a new military branch—the Space Corps. This sixth military branch would be solely responsible for combat in space and ultimately roll up to the Air Force, similar to how the Navy and Marine Corps are organized.

Senior military leaders and lawmakers agree that space is becoming an increasingly contested domain, with a growing concern about adversaries being able to fight in space. However, the two groups disagree on the way forward in building out space as a warfighting domain.

The case for and against a Space Corps

One argument for a Space Corps points to the United States’ heavy reliance on satellites, not only for GPS, but for many other functions like weather, military systems, ATMs, television and other communication systems. Any disruption to our satellite assets could cause chaos on the ground.

The Air Force has not been a fan of the plan to build out a Space Corps due to the increased bureaucracy it would create. Congress argues that the Air Force’s focus is on terrestrial flight and that space will never be given the attention it deserves. China and Russia have aligned their militaries to include space components and lawmakers want the U.S. to do the same.

Supporters also argue that the Air Force allows air dominance programs to be better funded with research and development and that space programs suffer as a second priority.

Another reason for launching Space Corps is that the Air Force struggles when it comes to managing large acquisition programs and that OCX and FAB-T (two of their space acquisition programs) have suffered cost overruns and schedule delays. Moving these to a separately managed military branch would allow for more oversight, management and cost reduction.

The Senate’s version of the 2018 NDAA doesn’t include the Space Corps, but it does include the creation of a new chief information warfare officer who would oversee cyberspace, space and electronic warfare. This would split the current DOD CIO role into two separate positions—one being the new CIWO and the other officer overseeing IT and business systems across the DOD, which is similar to the current function of the DOD CIO.

The Senate’s version of the NDAA also would extend the term for the leader of Air Force Space Command from two years up to six years, pointing to the need for stability in a developing domain. Both House and Senate acknowledge the importance of space as a domain but, as currently written, the proposed bills are addressing different problems. Expect the final version of the NDAA to contain a hybrid of the House and Senate’s markup, however development of an actual Space Corps may be years away.

The call for industry action

Despite the uncertainty of responsibilities when it comes to space, technology companies should pay attention to its development because this is where resources are being allocated. The Air Force, along with DOD as a whole, continues to prioritize space by increasing the amount of budget it dedicates to space capabilities year over year. The Air Force is asking for $7.7 billion for space programs in fiscal 2018, a 20 percent increase from the previous year.

The recent creation of a new office within Air Force headquarters’ staff further points to dedicating resources to this territory. This office will be called the ‘A-11,’ or ‘Deputy Chief of Staff for Space Operations Directorate,’ and is expected to be operational this August. Expect space, as it becomes part of military operations, to face many of the same challenges seen with cyberspace as it matured as a warfighting domain. These possible organizational changes continue to point to a need for better capabilities integration across warfighting domains and the entire DOD.

Space and cyberspace are capabilities that currently cross responsibilities across all the military service branches. Restructuring could change that, so tech companies need to stay on top of organizational changes and responsibility shifts.

In the meantime, companies should center their customer messaging around helping organizations break down information silos and collaborate more effectively.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.