ARLINGTON, Va (July 25, 2018) —The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies is pleased to announce the release of its entry in The Mitchell Forum paper series, “Space Integration, Not Separation: Aerospace Power for the Future,” by Col Bill Bruner, USAF (Ret.). With Congress and the Department of Defense now discussing the merits of a proposed “US Space Force,” Bruner takes a close look at the doctrinal and organizational issues involved with military spacepower, and argues that closer integration of spacepower with the US Air Force will lead to better outcomes in 21st century warfare.
Bruner, the current CEO of California-based New Frontier Aerospace, a former assistant administrator at NASA, and a veteran Air Force weapon systems officer and analyst, points out that the current debate about separating spacepower from airpower (and the US Air Force) is a retread of a debate that occurred in the aftermath of World War I, when one US senator put forward a proposal to break out the US Navy’s submarine force into a separate corps. The proposal fizzled, however, which led to the close exercising and tactical surface-subsurface coordination in the Navy that helped the US win World War II, Bruner points out.
Today, “the United States faces a challenge analogous to the revolution in undersea warfare heralded by World War I,” he writes. Today some lawmakers and policy makers are arguing that the domains of air and space should be separated. Bruner argues the opposite, however, noting that today spacepower is finally maturing and becoming a vital part of 21st century aerospace power, as technologies such as reusable rockets and spaceplanes mature and transform the range of missions possible in space—missions that are much closer to the full range of airpower capabilities, rather than just the intelligence gathering, precision navigation and timing, and command and control tasks that have long been performed via the space domain.
Rather than separate spacepower, Bruner argues the Air Force should better integrate it to reflect modern warfighting capabilities, and rebrand itself the “US Aerospace Force.” Much like the US Navy structures its subsurface, surface, and aviation forces into fleets, a US Aerospace Force would effectively streamline the organize, train, and equip functions of the present US Air Force and its space capabilities. Instead of creating a seam between air and space, this integration would help a future US Aerospace Force provide “trained, ready, and—above all—integrated air, space, and cyber force packages to US combatant commanders in wartime,” Bruner notes.
The Mitchell Forum series provides a venue for authors with ideas, concepts, and thoughts on national defense and aerospace power to engage with current and emerging policy debates and issues.
For more information on the series, and inquiries about submissions, contact Mitchell’s Director of Publications Marc V. Schanz at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website, at www.mitchellaerospacepower.org.