Space Not Immune from Terrestrial Challenges

Air Force Space Command said it informed the service’s budget executive that there would be significant cuts and reductions to the command’s operations should budget sequestration take effect on March 1. Among them, AFSPC is bracing for a reduction in some around-the-clock missile warning and space surveillance operations to eight hours per day, states the command’s Feb. 8 release. Gen. William Shelton, Air Force Space Command boss, called the current budget situation “unprecedented” in his 36 years of service. “The foundational capabilities space and cyber bring to the defense of this nation must be protected,” asserted Shelton. In fact, not only protected, but enhanced to support the nation’s new defense strategy, he added. “Given the current budget environment, reductions are unavoidable,” said Shelton. However, “space and cyber systems have less flexibility” to reduce operations tempo since most must “operate continuously” to accomplish their assigned missions, he noted. Under the sequester, AFSPC would also have to reduce sustainment of “an older communications satellite constellation with significant, residual capability” by 75 percent; prioritize, curtail and/or cancel operational training exercises; and reduce professional military education and mission readiness training, states the release.