DoD’s Space Force Plan Diverges from USAF Vision

Under a draft DoD proposal, the Space Force would take over most space missions, but leave service-specific ones like ICBMs, cyber and "the overall missile defense mission" to the existing services. ULA courtesy photo via the Navy.

The Pentagon’s plan to create an independent Space Force would create a lean new military service headed by a secretary and uniformed chief of staff and built from staff and commands now in the Air Force, Navy, and Army.

But the plan, outlined in a 13-page draft proposal reviewed by Air Force Magazine, diverges from an earlier Air Force proposal by leaving out the National Reconnaissance Office and describing a lean organization in which many support functions would remain with the current parent services.

Under the plan, the Defense Department would “consolidate the preponderance of space missions” under the Space Force, but leave service-specific, space-related missions, such as Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, cyber operations, and “the overall missile defense mission,” in the existing armed services. Those missions might be re-evaluated for inclusion in the new force later on.

Air Force Space Command, parts of the Navy Space and Warfare Systems Command, the Naval Satellite Operations Center, and the Army’s 1st Space Brigade, along with associated units supporting joint space operations, would be “realigned” under the Space Force.

The new service will include a warfighting component and subordinate commands, an acquisition and systems development component—including units designed for rapid development and acquisition of combat and support capabilities—and training and education commands.

Facilities, funding, and related support would remain under present service management until the Space Force reaches “an appropriate operating capacity.” The aim: to “minimize the creation of organizations, processes, and people that provide services that do not directly support its space warfighting mission.”

The plan describes how “inter-service transfers, initial lateral entry in military grades up to O-6, direct commission authorities, career incentive pays and retention bonuses, and potential waivers to accession policy” would be used to build the new force.

It also outlines plans for both a Space Reserve Force and a Space National Guard to leverage civilian experience and expertise.

The draft plan does “will not include the transfer of strategic intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance mission” of the NRO, but “the Space Force and the National Reconnaissance Office will be integrated, it continues, without furtrher explanation except for a temporary placeholder: “NOTE: FURTHER INPUT HERE LATER REGARDING DOD/IC integration.”