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Air Force lays out its case for keeping space operations

WASHINGTON – Separating space operations from the Air Force would hamper the service’s efforts to address threats in orbit, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said May 17.

Testifying before the Senate Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee, Goldfein argued that setting up a separate “Space Corps” within the Air Force — similar to the Marine Corps within the Navy — would only cause confusion.

“I don’t support it at this time,” Goldfein told the senators. “Right now, as we make this transition from a benign to a warfighting environment…any move that actually ends up separating space as opposed to integrating space, I would argue is a move in the wrong direction.”

The Air Force has been facing questions on reorganizing military space operations from lawmakers, many of whom are weighing whether to eventually create a separate space force.

But Goldfein argued that it’s not the time to try to set up a new service.

“Right now, to get focused on a large organizational change would actually slow us down,” he said. “Whether there’s a time in our future where we want to take a look at this again, I would say that we keep that dialog open, but right now I think it would actually move us backwards.”

It’s a topic that will likely spring up again May 19, when Gen. Jay Raymond, head of Air Force Space Command, testifies before the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), one of the leading advocates for creating a special force.

The Senate hearing came as the Government Accountability Office, the congressional watchdog office, released a report detailing continuing concerns with of the Defense Department’s manages the acquisition of military space systems such as satellites.

“GAO has reported over the years that DoD’s culture has generally been resistant to changes in space acquisition approaches and that fragmented responsibilities have made it difficult to coordinate and…

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