|Commission Calls for Consolidation of Space Functions |
Commission Calls for Consolidation of Space Functions
By Staff Sgt. A.J. Bosker, Air Force Print News.
Washington D.C. -- January 11, 2001 -- A Jan. 11 report submitted to Congress by the Space Commission calls for the consolidation of space functions into a single organization to create a strong center of advocacy for space and an environment in which to develop a cadre of space professionals (Courtesy photo)
The commission, established by Congress last year to assess the organization and management of space activities in support of national security, determined that the right place for space is a realigned and rechartered Air Force, best suited to organize, train and equip space forces.
Air Force Space Command would become the focal point for developing this cadre and advocating education and training programs for space professionals. The command should be given the responsibility for providing the resources to execute space research, development and operations, the commission recommended in its report.
The Space Commission report also calls on the defense secretary to designate the Air Force as Executive Agent for Space within the Defense Department since the service already accounts for 85 percent of DOD's space-related budget activity.
Additionally, the commission recommends statutory responsibility be given to the Air Force to organize, train and equip for prompt and sustained offensive and defensive air and space operations.
The report also recommends assigning responsibility for command of AFSPC to a four-star officer other than the commander in chief of U.S. Space Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command.
Currently, the same general officer holds all three positions. This recommendation by the commission is designed to give each commander more time to focus on his primary roles and responsibilities.
The recommended realignment of space activities within the Air Force would create a single chain of authority and give the service a clear opportunity to create a space-oriented culture comprising military professionals who could directly influence the development of systems and doctrine for use in space operations.
"As space becomes more integral -- and critical -- to military land, sea and air operations, the U.S. must devote more attention to the sensitive issues of space control and superiority," said Gen. Ralph E. Eberhart, commander in chief, NORAD and USSPACECOM; commander, AFSPACECOM.
"The importance of space control and space superiority will continue to grow as our economy becomes more reliant on space," he said.
The Air Force has long recognized the importance and potential of space capability to the nation and welcomes the report from the (Space Commission), Air Force officials said. As the primary provider of space capability within DOD, the service is encouraged by the attention national space security is receiving. The Air Force will assess the full Space Commission report and will develop a position on all its recommendations.