March 19, 2018 Zimmerman/Batchelor podcast

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Embedded below the fold in two parts.



  • Edward

    Space Warfare may not be the shoot-’em-up that many of us imagine. There will not soon be soldiers or Starship Troopers with blasters, light sabers, or phasers set on stun running around space stations or in space fighter craft. “The reality of how nations will fight in space is much duller and blander.

    Space indeed has turned into an important battlefront, and for good reasons. It is critical to nearly all aspects of national security and military power, including intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, communications, precision timing and navigation, attack warning and targeting of potential threats. The issue for the United States is to figure out how to thwart attacks within the boundaries of current treaties and legal frameworks, Weeden said. “Counterspace is now part of conventional warfare because space itself is part of conventional warfare.”

    Non‐kinetic attacks like jamming and interference are occurring more often. They are cheaper and easier to pull off than full-on kinetic destruction of satellites that would require a high-power laser or a ballistic missile. As the Pentagon maps out strategies and tactics to defend its satellites, military lawyers are actively investigating how international law applies to outer space.

    A Space Force that specializes in space warfare and countermeasures may not be as far away as we think. So, yeah, maybe Trump talked about a Space Force just to get people to talk about the concept. We have plenty of assets in space, military, civil, and commercial, that need protection and defense from attack.

  • Anthony Domanico


    I think we have similar opinions on this topic. Soldiers in a space wing of our military won’t even be in space for some time. I think that’s what people think when they here these officials bring up the need for such a force. This misconception only serves to destroy the credible need for a space military branch. Just having a branch dedicated to protecting and utilizing our space assets might help to improve efficiency and develop novel ways of engaging in future conflicts. Personally, I think cyberspace deserves its own branch as well. The differences between land, sea, and air as war fighting domains are enough to warrant separate branches so surely space and cyberspace are different enough to warrant the same. So, in my mind, this begs the question, why is the Air Force the catch all for these very disparate domains? Edward, help me make sense of this.

  • Localfluff

    I wonder if there’s a risk that a separate space wing would become a new and weak rival for the budget monies. Isn’t it better to keep it under the politically powerful wings of the USAF?

  • Edward

    Anthony Domanico asked: “why is the Air Force the catch all for these very disparate domains?

    I’m not a real military historian, but I’m willing to play one here on the internet.

    Air power had quickly turned into a very powerful tool for all the military branches. Back when there were only balloons, the Army was eager to use them for spotting the positions of the enemy. The Zeppelin was a powerful weapon over London, in early WWI (the War To End All Wars), until fixed-wing aircraft found a way to shoot them down. Fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft now perform important roles for all the branches of our military. Each branch possesses its own aircraft, but the Air Force has a general responsibility for providing air defense and for creating air supremacy over any battlefield that we fight on.

    I think that the article that I linked, above, helps to demonstrate that spacecraft also now perform important roles for all the branches of our military, but it is still the Air Force’s responsibility for providing most of these roles for all the other branches, as though space supremacy is also their responsibility. Lacking a Space Force, that really is their responsibility.

    Perhaps the argument for or against creating a Space Force as a separate branch of the military should consider the reasoning behind the creation of the Air Force, way back when. Why was it that the Army was not the appropriate branch to run much of our air defensive and offensive units? It worked pretty well during WWII (the war that followed the War To End All Wars).

    With that question, it seems that I have failed at playing a good military historian, even here on the internet.

  • Anthony Domanico


    You didn’t fail to entertain. However, I’m left with more questions than I started with and I’m still lost on why the Air Force is responsible for war fighting in these other non air domains.


    You have a good point and it’s something that I have considered. It may very well be the primary reason but given all the breaches in cyber security that have been in the public’s eye I wouldn’t think it would be hard to sell them on the notion that a cyberspace branch should be well funded. It’s public knowledge that China, Russia, and other state and non state entities have invested heavily in bolstering their cyberspace capabilities. As for a space wing, I think you’re right. I think it’s a harder sell considering how little the public realizes how much we use space assets in our everyday lives. It’s even further off their radar how vulnerable our our space based assets are and, by proxy, how vulnerable our society is. I guess my biggest concern is the Air Force won’t be a good steward of the monies it’s given and will choose to allocate too much to the next F-35 like project and too little, for example, to coming up with technology to counter antisat weapons. I hope my concerns will prove to be unjustified.

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