The key mission for the US space program is to fight war, but because much of US space infrastructure was developed in an era “when space was considered a benign environment, little thought was given to system protection or defense,” said Brig. Gen. Stephen Whiting Friday in Washington, D.C. Speaking at an AFA Mitchell Institute event, Whiting said as a result the US is unprepared to protect and defend its space assets. “Today the US space enterprise is not resilient enough to successfully prosecute or even survive a high-end conflict that extends into space,” Whiting said. Calling US space programs “absolutely foundational and indelible to the American way of war,” Whiting discussed a plan that would “provide the United States with space capabilities that can help deter a war from extending into space and to ensure that we prevail” if one ever does. Central to that vision would be the move from a technology replacement model focused on “functional availability”—or the lifecycle and maintenance of a satellite—to one of “resilience capacity,” where decisions are made based upon the ability of systems to defend themselves from potential attack.
The Pentagon awarded a contract worth over $2 billion for the next batch of F-35 engines to Pratt & Whitney on June 5. The deal for Lot 17 F135 engines, totaling $2.02 billion, is expected to be completed by December 2025.