Shorting Space

Retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey believes that the “current $10 billion Air Force space strategy is under-resourced and severely constrained” and lays the blame on the “executive and Congressional national security establishment.” In an after-action memo on his independent assessment of Air Force Space Command, he asserts that the “next Administration will have at most a year to analyze a series of difficult strategic and investment space decisions before US global superiority will start rapidly eroding.” McCaffrey, who is now a defense consultant and also serves as an adjunct professor of international affairs, sent this memo to colleagues at the US Military Academy to foster “a wider debate and analysis.” Among eight key judgments offered in the memo, he notes that the US will lose its ability to conduct covert military operations because of the proliferation of satellite intelligence among adversaries; terrorists will gain the capability to conduct electronic attacks against US satellites; terrorists and state actors “will actively prepare to attack US ground satellite control capabilities; and Russia will overshadow the US as the international leader in military space capabilities. He believes the nation’s “underfunded national defense system”—focused on the war on terror with a “burn-rate of $12 billion per month”—has “distorted our modernization efforts and priorities.”