Fanning Touts Air Force Space
Fanning Touts Air Force
Space, Cyber Capabilities
By Air Force Staff Sgt. Carlin
Leslie, Air Force Public Affairs.
Washington D.C. – (AFPS)
– May 22, 2014 – At an annual gathering of civil, military and industry
professionals from across the globe, Undersecretary of the Air Force Eric
Fanning emphasized Air Force contributions through space and cyberspace.
Fanning was the featured keynote speaker at the May 20 Space
Symposium dinner held in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The undersecretary said Air Force missions are not only
global but complex, and operate in multiple places and domains like space and
cyberspace, that people don’t necessarily know about or see. “We are not just a
warfighting service,” explained Fanning, who is the focal point on the Air Force
staff for space operations, policy and acquisition. “We are also an intelligence
service -- (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance), cyber and space
together. We are one-stop shopping for the president. We can tell him what’s
going on anywhere in the world -- and if he wants us to -- we can do something
about it, anywhere in the world, anytime.”
The undersecretary said the Air Force has provided this type
of support, not just to the president, but to combatant commanders for decades.
“Space power has also been a key element of warfighting for more than 30 years,
providing a unique vantage to observe activity around the globe, relay
terrestrial communications and provide precision position information,” Fanning
However, space is not just a one-nation show, he said, and
that a global domain requires a global team.
He pointed multiple international agreements and said the Air
Force has recently furthered defense cooperation by establishing a partnership
with Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom on combined space operations.
“Combined space operations allow better collaboration on space activities that
we agree are most critical, such as identifying objects in orbit and
understanding what they're doing, avoiding satellite collisions and contributing
towards a safer, more secure space environment,” Fanning said.
He also said the Air Force is working hard to reduce spending
while ensuring delivery of necessary space capabilities to the warfighter. For
example, the Air Force found significant savings in the Evolved Expendable
Launch Vehicle program with long-term contracts and is supporting new entrants
While launch costs are a concern, Fanning said he also wants
to make sure the Air Force has reasonable and resilient satellite programs. “A
larger constellation of smaller satellites might be more affordable for some
missions, so that even if one satellite fails, there will be others that can
pick up the slack,” Fanning said. “That is the benefit of creating a resilient
Fanning explained the reason for a resilient architecture
relies not only on the fact that debris exists in space that can potentially
damage or eliminate a satellite, but also because space is no longer considered
a sanctuary. “We cannot assume that our deployed systems will either be
inaccessible or unnoticed, and thus undisturbed,” Fanning said. “Our potential
adversaries are well aware of the distinct advantages that our space systems
provide us, and they are developing counter-space capabilities in pursuit of
Fanning also acknowledged the work of both government and
industry professionals in developing space capabilities into the ubiquitous
assets they are today and he emphasized working within current budget
constraints. “Thank you for the work you have done to advance our capabilities
in space,” he said. “I challenge you to continue to help ensure we maintain a
leading edge in space now and 30 years from now, particularly in this
challenging political and fiscal environment.”
Special Report: The Cyber Domain