On November 9, General Jay Raymond, the U.S. Space Force’s Chief of Space Operations, released a foundational document outlining the new military service’s priorities and management practices for the U.S. to remain ahead of its major adversaries in space. The 12-page document, “Chief of Space Operations Planning Guidance” (CPG), makes clear that space is now viewed as a “warfighting domain”, and that in order for the U.S. to maintain dominance and deter hostile actions, it needs to take immediate action to integrate, equip, train, and organize its military space assets.
General Raymond warns about the danger posed by major adversaries, such as China and Russia, that have developed sophisticated anti-satellite technologies capable of disrupting or destroying the U.S. satellite grid. Such a possibility was first outlined in a January 11, 2001, Space Commission Report, chaired by former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, warning about a “Space Pearl Harbor” and the need for a new military service to prevent it
General Raymond begins his Planning Guidance document by explaining how space has shifted from a benign security environment to one where warfare can be expected in the near future:
The Space Force has a mandate in national strategy, policy, and law to be both pathfinder and protector of America’s interests as a space-faring nation. The convergence of proliferating technology and competitive interests has forever re-defined space from a benign domain to one in which we anticipate all aspects of human endeavor – including warfare. The return of peer, great power competitors has dramatically changed the global security environment and space is central to that change (CPG, p.1).
According to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, space was considered to be a peaceful domain for scientific exploration. No country was allowed to station military forces or weapons in space, the Moon, or other celestial objects. General Raymond is here acknowledging that recent developments such as Russia and China’s deployment of a range of anti-satellite weapons systems mean that space is no longer a benign environment, and that preventative military measures need to be taken.
He goes on to explain how the Space Force can prepare for future warfare in space:
The United States Space Force is called to organize, train, equip, and present forces capable of preserving America’s freedom of action in space; enabling Joint Force lethality and effectiveness; and providing independent options – in, from, and to space… While we will extend and defend America’s competitive advantage in peacetime, the ultimate measure of our readiness is the ability to prevail should war initiate in, or extend to space (CPG, p.1).
Deterring major adversaries from launching military hostilities is explained as a key priority in order not to lose U.S. space dominance:
America needs a Space Force able to deter conflict, and if deterrence fails, prevail should war initiate in or extend to space. Space capabilities enhance the potency of all other military forces. Our National leadership requires resilient and assured military space capabilities for sustained advantage in peaceful competition, or decisive advantage in conflict or war….
The change in the geo-strategic and operating environment that compelled the creation of the Space Force means that many of our legacy space capabilities must be reevaluated for ongoing relevance. Let me be clear – if we do not adapt to outpace aggressive competitors, we will likely lose our peacetime and warfighting advantage in space (CPG, p.2).
China and Russia are both viewed as the primary adversaries capable of militarily destroying the U.S. satellite grid in a future war or in a surprise attack, a Space Pearl Harbor:
Chinese and Russian military doctrines indicate they view space as essential to modern warfare, and view counterspace capabilities as potent means to reduce U.S. and allied military effectiveness. Modern Chinese and Russian space surveillance networks are capable of finding, tracking, and characterizing satellites in all earth orbits. Both Russia and China are developing systems using the electro-magnetic spectrum, cyberspace, directed energy, on-orbit capabilities, and ground-based antisatellite missiles to destroy space-based assets (CPG, p.2).
From the perspective of China’s Communist Party leadership, as I explain in Rise of the Red Dragon (2020), China is merely catching up to what the United States (and Russia) had already secretly developed and deployed in space decades earlier.
Not surprisingly, General Raymond emphasizes developing breakthrough space technologies in dealing with potential military conflict:
Space Force will use strategic investments to cultivate a strong, diverse and competitive American space industrial base. Civil and commercial developments that pave the way for exploration and commercialization beyond near-Earth orbit will both generate technology that benefits the USSF and require an order of magnitude expansion of our ability to sense, communicate and act to protect and defend American interests in cis-lunar space and beyond. (CPG, p.9).
General Raymond is here suggesting major aerospace defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Boeing, etc., will play vital roles in developing breakthrough space technologies that can be used to deter adversaries in space. While development of breakthrough space technologies is framed as a future need, the reality is that such technologies have already been secretly developed by major aerospace companies. The produced technologies have been subsequently sold off to different “customers” such as U.S. military commands, intelligence agencies, and major allies for decades.
Extensive testimonial and documentary evidence is presented in my Secret Space Programs book series showing how the U.S. Air Force and the Navy developed separate secret space programs in response to earlier developments in Nazi Germany that carried over into the post-war era. As a result of decades-long cooperation with major corporations in reverse engineering captured Nazi and alien spacecraft, advanced anti-gravity spacecraft and electromagnetic weapons systems were developed and deployed by different entities within the US national security establishment.
The critical requirement for gaining access to such breakthrough aerospace technologies by a U.S. military service, combatant command, or intelligence agency was to demonstrate a clear need for such advanced technologies for completing space-related missions.
As long as space was considered a benign environment, then this favored the acquisition of reverse-engineered technologies by intelligence services or special operations groups that used space for intelligence gathering or small-scale covert operations. The bulk of breakthrough aerospace technologies would consequently go to defense intelligence entities such as the National Reconnaissance Office, CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and covert groups such as Air Force Special Operations and Special Operations Command.
Even U.S. Space Command (1985-2002) and Air Force Space Command (1982-2019) would be limited in how much access they had to such breakthrough “black world” technologies as acknowledged in a comprehensive 1996 Intelligence Commission report to the US Congress:
Two organizations within the Department of Defense manage space assets: the U.S. Space Command (SPACECOM) is responsible for so-called “white world” satellites (i.e., satellites that are publicly acknowledged) for military programs, and the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) deals with “black world” (i.e., classified) satellites for intelligence programs. SPACECOM launches and operates satellites for military communication, weather and navigation, which are designed and procured by the military services. NRO designs, acquires, launches, and operates classified reconnaissance satellites.
The Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff and the unified combatant commanders, with the notable exceptions of Special Operations Command and (Air Force) Space Command, were largely denied access. This was because major military space operations were deemed unnecessary due to space being considered a benign environment, and such operations violating international space law.
All that changes with General Raymond’s Planning Guidance document, which expands upon President Donald Trump’s earlier Space Policy Directive 4 which made space a hostile environment requiring defense of America’s space assets. Space is now considered a war fighting domain where large scale military operations may be necessary to protect the U.S. satellite grid. This means that breakthrough corporate technologies that previously were denied to the different military services due to their high-level security classification and international space law constraints, are now permitted either through Space Force (which incorporates the former USAF Space Command) or U.S. Space Command, both of which were respectively created or reconstituted in 2019.
General Raymond emphasizes the haste with which these advanced technologies should now be incorporated into Space Force and for immediate action to be taken to protect the U.S. satellite grid:
The strategic environment demands we act boldly now to build a Service designed to act with speed and decisiveness to ensure the United States maintains its advantage in the domain….This CPG identifies those characteristics and capabilities within the force that must evolve. We do not have the luxury of delay for further analysis. (CPG, p.9).
Raymond’s thinking is mirrored in recent statements by the Secretary of the U.S. Air Force, Barbara Barret, calling for declassifying many space technologies kept hidden from the general public and even from different elements of the Air Force itself. On December 7, 2019, she declared:
Declassifying some of what is currently held in secure vaults would be a good idea… You would have to be careful about what we declassify, but there is much more classified than what needs to be.
In conclusion, redefining space as a warfighting domain means that formerly highly classified technologies developed by corporations and military laboratories for exclusive use by the intelligence and special operations communities will be acquired by Space Force. These advanced space technologies will be made available for large scale deployment in future space combat operations.
The release of General Raymond’s “Planning Guidance” document makes it highly likely that soon after Space Force is fully set up by May 2021 (the end of its 18 months set up period), we are likely to witness the official disclosure of multiple highly classified aerospace technologies, including anti-gravity propulsion systems, acquired by Space Force. The release of such advanced technologies will revolutionize the civilian transportation industry and military defense and take our planet into an exciting but dangerous new age.
© Michael E. Salla, Ph.D. Copyright Notice
[An audio version of this article is available here]
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