That would take the Air Force up to 386 active squadrons.
At a meeting of the National Space Council on June 18, however, Trump made clear that he means business, directing Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to "carry out that assignment".
The 15-page memo signed by Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson offers the first official estimate of the near-term costs of building a sixth branch of the military to focus on fighting in outer space, and outlines the Air Force's ideas for doing so. Specifically, such commentators have criticized the Air Force for devoting too little money to space, acting too slowly in acquiring materials for space, failing to promote its personnel involved with the space mission and, finally, dismissing space as a domain in which to wage war. The service says it will need roughly 40,000 airmen and personnel to achieve these goals by the 2030 timeframe, but has not provided details on equipment, aircraft, additional bases, and other issues. Yet the U.S.is already the top dog in the great beyond.
"The Space Force proposal is a resource question writ large", AFA added.
Brig. Gen. David Gaedecke, the director for the Air Force's Cyberspace Operations and Warfighting Integration and CIO for the Information Dominance office, pointed to the development of the Aeronet as an example of quickly fielding new capabilities. Its annual Air, Space, and Cyber conference is now underway outside Washington, D.C.
Pushback continues to build against the idea of a Space Force, with the Air Force Association, or AFA, being the latest to disparage the proposal.
Yesterday, Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson spoke at the conference and spelled out her views on "The Air Force We Need".
She says the Air Force needs to add 75 new squadrons by 2030.
But opponents will probably seize on the Air Force estimate that building the space force will cost $3.3 billion in the first year and $12.9 billion over five years as evidence that it would be too costly for a defense budget likely to be severely stretched in coming years.
The memo calls for keeping all current space personnel in the Air Force and other services "until Congress establishes the new Department of the Space Force", an approach that could delay cuts in Air Force operations. "Currently there are no space arms which are fundamental to setting up an armed service". They say the force is needed because Russia, China and other US adversaries are building anti-satellite and other weapons that could threaten the USA military's dominance in space.
If Congress moves to create a Space Force, the additional billions of dollars needed to stand up a new service would have to be funded at the same time the Air Force is seeking a significant increase to the size of its combat force in response to growing demands. "Today, to split up the well-integrated set of air and space capabilities that have been organized to seamlessly contribute to America's military capabilities would result in more harm than good".
The position paper quotes then-Air Force Chief of Staff Thomas White as saying in 1958, as the Space Age began, that "Air and space are not two separate media to be divided by a line and to be readily separated into two distinct categories; they are in truth a single indivisible field of operations..." "But they are only concepts and, at some point, the Air Force will have to deal with budgetary realities as well".
It does support reestablishing the unified combatant command for space, however. "Strategic competition with Russian Federation and China is the focus of our approach". The idea has met with mixed reviews on Capitol Hill so far. John McCain, was not convinced and blocked it. McCain's SASC successor, Sen.