Dr Brian Weeden, Vice President, David Livingston discussed on The John Batchelor Show
This is the John Batchelor show. Hotel Mars episode, David Livingston, Dr space, the space show is here with me as my co pilot and the debate is the space for us. I go to the vice president's words at NASA's Johnson Space center in Houston. Last month in August of two thousand eighteen the need is real said the vice president as we speak. The department of defense is moving forward with initial steps to strengthen American security in space, and we will continue to work with both parties in congress to provide the necessary authorities and funding to stand up a new branch of armed forces. The vice president also speaks of putting a US crew. Presumably in the space for us on the lunar orbital platform gateway commonly called gateway we're joined now in a debate about the space force and what direction it can take with Dr Brian Weeden. He's the director of program planning for secure world foundation. He spent decades debating space policy and operations Brian joins us from Hawaii. David Livingston, Dr space joins us from California. So I here on the east coast asked the first question, Brian a very good evening to you the vice president's reference to a. New force. A new stand up force in the Pentagon to your understanding is this welcomed by the Pentagon itself. Is this something that makes the air force and the navy and the army happy good evening to you. Brian. Getting to you. And thank you for inviting you to participate. I would say in general. Most of the bureaucracy is against the idea of a separate service to do space bought most probably think there does need to be some degree of change. How things are currently organized. Fair enough. So let me understand this. They're not certain that space forces needed. But there needs to be a lot of there needs to be thinking about what to do with this new frontier, especially because militarization is upon us. Is that how they're thinking of this Bri? I think that that that's a good summation. Now that the we've been having a debate for pretty much the last twenty years ever since let's say the wrong cell or ingenuous does one about how to organize national security space activities and by NASCAR space. I mean, the military and the intelligence activities that go on in space right now, those are primarily done by the air force and the national conference office respectively. So the question is is the right structure going forward. A space force defined as a completely separate departments slash service to do space is one specific answer to that reorganization question. David. Hi, brian. So depending on whom makes policy. I think that's probably more important than what uniform they may wear because I suspect the policy is made it higher levels than just the the new military force to spaceport so changing how you make the policy and how it's who. And who does it seems more fundamental than what uniform it's going to be worn carrying out that policy? Am I going wrong someplace or is that a good perspective? I think that's a very important point. So from the perspective of space policy sort of the overarching document at the top is what we typically the national space policy and just about every presidential administration. Since Eisenhower has issued one of those and those policies are usually produced by the national Security Council or an equivalent White House level interagency body, and they they involve bringing together representatives from State Department and defense department and Commerce Department treasury and all the other agencies and departments that have a say, and they spent you know, they spend several months or more kind of discussing what goes in the policy and then at the end it's coordinated and signed out by the president the last official national space policy of the US government. It was a priest on the Obama administration in two thousand ten when the Trump administration came in. They produced a space policy directive one wish changed part of that ring to kind of the goals for human spaceflight. But in general have since left the overall space policy intact now beneath that are bunch of others policies that are specific topics. So the Trump administration has produced a new national space strategy, which is sort of not really a strategy. It's more like a policy put it focuses more on the security aspects of space policy, and there they largely have kept the same broad themes that we've seen since Eisenhower with some tweaks to the to the to the dressing and the rhetoric around it. But I think you're right. And that that was very important process because that is how we get all the different departments and agencies and the government they use space sort of on the same page. Brower approach is going to be early. One last piece to this though is that one of the big unanswered questions is what is the mission of the space force going to beat and that is a very important policy question that has not yet been answer. Earlier this year, you provided a a glimpse of what that policy could be when you and your colleagues issued global counter space capabilities in open source assessment, this is April of two thousand eighteen months before the vice president's spoke, and so we can presume that they were familiar with this in the building. What is an your on? You have an executive summary here that it said, very trenchant. What is from this recommendation? You call it's called counter space that you want the Pentagon to debate Brian. What are the points here that the Pentagon is likely to have to solve before they can launch? Our report was an attempt to put in the public domain. There's been a lot of rhetoric. Some politicians is either military leadership the last several years of bounce threats to the US based systems, and you know, references to things that Russia and China are doing in space, the US is worried about but very little detail has been provided because of the classification of the intelligence sources behind us. We felt it was important to put out smoking source ref materials on this. So we could have more of a public discussion because we think that the the where the US policy goes on this could have repercussions for all the other users of space, which includes us, it includes the burgeoning commercial space industry includes a whole host of things beyond just the national security users, David. Brian given where we are. Now in the discussion and debate do you think we need a special space force or a division of the air force, or what would your recommendations be? Well, the answer your question rolls. How you see what the problems are? I think in general people would say the problems are that they're frustrated with the, you know, they feel the air force has not given space. The prioritization, that it might neither it tastes kind of a back seat to the aircraft in the air power. Missions of the air force. Does there's a lot of frustrations over the acquisition system and the long time. It takes to build new satellites and military experience capabilities frustrations over the quality of creating a cadre space experts in which to me talented. There's not that many of them within your force. And so that is all I think there's large agreement that those are all the problems. You know, the question is what the solution in my opinion. I'm not convinced. A completely separate service is the best answer. Because I think that entails a lot of extra challenges that we have to work through as opposed to some of the other options, the one that I would have probably preferred as one is the core concept, this is very much akin to the Marine Corps. So the marines are a separate corps that exists within the department of the navy. So they have their own culture, they have their own uniforms their own doctrine their own manual acquisition programs, but they rely on the department of the navy for a lot of the administrative and overhead. I feel that you know, creating space corps akin to that under the department of the air force would have perhaps been a better solution to allow more independence for the space forces while not burdening them with all this overhead that you're going to have to do if there is a completely separate service and department we're speaking with Dr Brian Weeden, director of programming planning for secure world. Foundations foundation is the website s w found dot org. We're discussing space force has proposed by the vice president in the summer of two thousand eighteen as a separate force within the Pentagon, and what is the mission, and what is to be done in these interim days, David Livingston, Dr space of the space show is my colleague and co-host this. This hotel Mars, we're gonna turn this specific threats that the space force or the those in the Pentagon who are working on space issues must deal within the foreseeable future. When we come back. And of course, the threat spells China. I'm John Batchelor. This is the John Batchelor show..