Feb. 26, 2019

BLASTING OFFAfter reading your first editorial and letter in the December 2018 edition of Air Force Magazine [“The Air—and Space—Force We Need,” p. 2, and “From the Editor in Chief,” p. 3], I am wondering if you have had a chance to check in with most of your front-line Air Force Association members yet.

As a retired Air Force officer who spent her entire career in military space, and particularly space acquisition, I disagree with your and AFA’s position on the lack of a need for a separate Space Force. As a result, I would like to cancel my life membership in the Air Force Association.

Even though the Deputy SECDEF cites Space as a warfighting domain in his report to Congress on Aug. 9, 2018, as per the US Air Force, the first Space War was actually fought in 1991 during Desert Storm. For those who think that the USAF has “got” the Space mission, and hence, no separate Space entity is actually required, there are decades of USAF personnel mismanagement examples since 1991 that demonstrate otherwise.

Here are some questions the Air Force Association (and Congress) may actually want to ask the USAF:

  1. Why is it acceptable for an Air Force pilot, with no space experience, to lead a Space Wing, but it is not acceptable for a Space officer to lead an Air Wing
  2. Why do Air Force performance evaluations still have to be written so that any Air Force pilot on a promotion board can understand what a Space officer did, but the reverse is not true
  3. Why do Space officers have to change jobs every two years (just when they have learned their jobs) to be considered promotable in the Air Force
  4. Why does the Air Force send its best and brightest Space personnel to NASA and the NRO
  5. Why are many junior Space officers, who are performing their wartime jobs in CONUS building and launching satellites, deployed overseas to non-space jobs, like protocol
  6. Why can’t Space personnel be managed and promoted within their own career fields (similar to the Navy)—especially the engineers, program managers, and operators
  7. How can the Air Force be trusted to create any sort of Space cadre—especially when they created one in 2001 after the Space and Missile Systems Center moved into Air Force Space Command—and then let it atrophy
  8. Why are there more Space officers in the US Army than in the Air Force—especially since the Air Force has had Space responsibility for decades
  9. If the Air Force truly promotes what it values, why does the Air Force promote, at most, two Space officers to brigadier general at each brigadier general officer promotion board
  10. In light of the above, why should any Space entity fall under the Air Force’s purview

Space personnel in today’s US Air Force remain second-class citizens, and I expect AFA to be more forward-thinking and forward-leaning than the US Army was during the creation of a separate Air Force.

If the US wants Space to be on equal footing with the rest of the warfighting domains, plus ensure seamless integration of these various domains in the future, the time for a separate Space entity is now.

Nancy R. Insprucker

Manhattan Beach, Calif.


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