SWF Contributes to Debate about the Pros and Cons of a Separate Space Force

Sunday, October 21, 2018


SWF Director of Program Planning Dr. Brian Weeden participated in a panel discussion on the pros and cons of establishing a Space Force as a separate branch of the U.S. military at the 2018 Politicon in Los Angeles, CA. The panel included Dr. George Nield, former Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation at the Federal Aviation Administration; Mr. Terry Virts, former NASA Astronaut; and Mr. Doug Loverro, former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Space Policy in the Department of Defense. The panel was moderated by Dr. Greg Autry, Assistant Professor of Clinical Entrepreneurship at the University of Southern California. 

The panel discussed the current trends and issues in the space domain that are driving the discussion about a separate Space Force, including the challenges of the existing organizational structures, the natural environmental threats and counterspace threats to space capabilities, and the burgeoning commercial space sector. Mr. Loverro strongly advocated for establishing a separate Department of the Space Force to improve the way the U.S. national security space community functions. Mr. Virts discussed how that may or may not impact NASA's work on human spaceflight, exploration, and scientific cooperation. Dr. Weeden provided a skeptical assessment of the ability the successfully create a separate Space Force without creating additional problems, and offered a separate Space Corps within the U.S. Air Force as an alternative. Dr. Nield discussed the complementary value of a Space Guard, akin to the Coast Guard, to be a "one stop shop" for oversight and licensing of commercial space activities.

Last updated on October 22, 2018