Today’s Slate and Paper

The nation must maintain a minimum level of space and cyberspace capability if it wants to remain a global power, Gen. William Shelton, Air Force Space Command boss, told attendees Tuesday at AFA’s Air & Space Conference in National Harbor, Md. “Times are tough. There are no two ways about it,” said Shelton. “We are doing all that we can to prepare for what can only be described as a very austere budget environment.” Shelton said AFSPC can and will do its part to save and operate more efficiently. However, he said, “I believe that there is a limit to how far we can and should cut.” For example, “we can’t stop doing GPS,” stated Shelton, adding that it is truly a critical national—and not just a military asset. Similarly, space-based missile warning, space situational awareness, and the nuclear warning missions are indispensible. The Air Force also can’t stop its “efforts to ensure a resilient cyber network,” said Shelton. He referred to those capabilities as “today’s slate and paper,” referencing the essential tools of people in centuries past. “We can and we will find the reductions in the space and cyber portfolios,” asserted Shelton. “But I just don’t think we can preserve our global power projection capability without our underpinning space and cyber assets.”