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The US Air Force Has Won Control of the Space Force

Published: February 12, 2019
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Source: Defense One

Six months ago, service leaders said they were being cut out of the planning process. Now they’re being put in charge of it.

Detailed planning for the proposed Space Force is expected to be handed over soon to the U.S. Air Force, a sign that Pentagon leaders — many of whom opposed the notion of consolidating military space operations in a new organization — have found a version that they can support.

In coming weeks, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan is expected to sign a memo asking Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson to stand up a team that will figure out the bureaucratic nuts and bolts of the new space organization, according to a draft of the memo being circulated by top administration and military officials.

A spokesman for Shanahan, who is traveling in the Middle East, was not immediately available for comment.

The move brings the Air Force somewhat full circle on the new outfit. Last March, President Trump called rather vaguely for a “Space Force,” surprising Pentagon and service officials, many of whom had opposed more fleshed-out versions of the idea. In particular, leaders of the Air Force — which handles the majority of U.S. military space operations — evinced concern that those functions might be split off into a completely separate service branch.

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