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Defense Leaders Make Case for U.S. Space Force

April 11, 2019
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A United States Space Force would build on and accelerate the advantage the U.S. Air Force has given the American military in space, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Rocket blasts off from launching pad.
Bright Launch
The ninth Wideband Global SATCOM satellite launches aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., March 18, 2017. WGS satellites play an integral part in the strategic and tactical coordination of military operations.
Photo By: Courtesy of United Launch Alliance
VIRIN: 170318-F-RE693-713

Establishing the U.S. Space Force will enable the Defense Department to gather up the disaggregated parts of the military space effort in one organization and change what has become a slow, bureaucratic approach, Shanahan said.

The secretary asked the committee to authorize the Space Force in the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.

Service members train with satellite communication equipment.
Security Force
New equipment training is performed on a Solid Controlled Orbital Utility Test system satellite terminal with the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade in Afghanistan in September 2018.
Photo By: Catherine Deran, Army
VIRIN: 190327-A-A4416-005
Air Force Academy cadets and civilians look at a computer console.
Faculty members and cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy wait to receive “first contact” from the cadet-designed FalconSAT-6 satellite after its successful launch into space, Dec. 3, 2018. The satellite was attached to a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, powered by liquid oxygen and kerosene-based fuel, and is one of 64 satellites aboard the rocket as part of Space Flight Industries’ SSO-A SmallSat Express mission.
Photo By: Joshua Armstrong, Air Force
VIRIN: 181203-F-NH566-0011

"America has enduring interests in space," he said. "And just as the U.S. Navy ensures freedom of navigation of the seas, America's Space Force must now ensure the freedom to navigate the stars."

Astronaut in space suit raises her right hand.
Orbital Oath
Army Lt. Col. Anne McClain, an astronaut assigned to NASA Detachment, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, takes the oath of office during an underwater promotion ceremony in the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, at the Sonny Carter Training Facility near Houston Sept. 27, 2018.
Photo By: Dottie White, NASA
VIRIN: 180927-A-RK500-249

Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson; and Air Force Gen. John Hyten, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command, joined Shanahan in testifying during the April 11 hearing.