By Sandra Erwin, Space News
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford is pushing ahead with plans to establish a U.S. Space Command.
He will schedule a series of tabletop exercises this fall to help hash out specific details on the mission and the structure of the new combatant command, he said in a Sept. 24 memo to Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson.
Dunford’s memo, a copy of which was obtained by SpaceNews, comes on the heels of Wilson’s Sept. 14 proposal for the establishment of a Space Force as a separate military department.
(The United States Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis talks about Space becoming a war fighting domain prior to Vice President Mike Pence’s speech that revealed a plan for a new military branch called the ‘Space Force.’ Courtesy of VideoFromSpace and YouTube. Posted on Aug 9, 2018.)
In his memo, Dunford addresses Wilson’s concerns about potential overlaps between the combatant command and the Department of the Space Force.
“With regard to your concerns on the unified command plan, we have removed the language authorizing service-like responsibilities for the commander of U.S. Space Command,” Dunford wrote.
“If the secretary of the defense chooses to pursue unique responsibilities for the commander of U.S. Space Command in the future, we can incorporate any changes into the scheduled 2019 unified command plan update.”
Dunford also references Wilson’s concerns about making sure that the responsibilities for acquisitions of space systems be resident within the Space Force.
The Joint Staff appears to favor modeling U.S. Space Command after U.S. Special Operations Command. But U.S. SOCOM has its own acquisition authority, and Wilson presumably would be opposed to giving U.S. Space Command that same level of procurement powers.
“I agree that the U.S. Space Command design should not assume all aspects of the U.S. Special Operations Command model., especially in terms of acquisition authorities which may require legislative action,” Dunford noted.
“However, the U.S. SOCOM model is particularly informative on the development and shaping of U.S. Space Command’s war fighting functions, authorities, structure and command relationships,” he added.
“These war fighting attributes of U.S. Space Command will be explored in tabletop exercises this fall.”
(Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joe Dunford discusses investments in space resilience and the space domain before members of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Courtesy of The Joint Staff and YouTube. Posted on Apr 30, 2018.)