January 29, 2020

Keith's Congressional Corner

"The president and Congress have given us a great opportunity to build the force we need to respond to the challenges that we face in the space domain. Not only is this historical, but it is critical … to our national security and that of our allies.”
- Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, Chief of Space Operations (CSO)
Note: Gen. Raymond also serves as Commander, U.S. Space Command

Mark it on the calendar…December 20, 2019 was the birth of the sixth military service--the U.S. Space Force (USSF). The new service exists within the department of the Air Force, and the U.S. Space Force will organize, train, and equip as a force provider for all combatant commands (COCOMs)--especially the USSPACECOM--our newest geographical command. This places U.S. Space Force in equal footing with the other services and will be led by General Raymond. In December 2020, the general will become a full member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“It’s going to be really important that we get this right. A uniform, a patch, a song. ... There’s a lot of work going on toward that end. It’s going to take a long time to get to that point, but that’s not something we’re going to roll out on day one.”
- Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, Chief of Space Operations

The devil is in the details. Over the next 18 months, Space Force leaders will settle on rank structures, training regimens, and other administrative facets of the new service. Planners still do not know how the service, expected to reach 16,000 personnel--largely Air Force--will be organized or funded. AFA is most concerned how the U.S. Air Force will be able to field two services using the budget of one.

Congratulations to the newest service and to its Airmen. AFA fully supports our newest service, and we are THE association that will continue to Advocate-Educate-and Support Airmen and their families in the Air Force and Space Force. 

“The Air Force is leading the way with bold and likely controversial changes to our future budgets. We need to shift funding and allegiance from legacy programs we can no longer afford due to their incompatibility with future battlefields and into the capabilities and systems that the nation requires for victory. There’s no way around it.”
- The Honorable Matt Donovan, Under Secretary of the Air Force

We started this calendar year with a fiscal year (FY) 2020 budget, so that’s a good thing. Congress and the president have already agreed to the spending levels for FY 2021 starting October 1st, so, that’s another positive development.

However, the Air Force’s next budget for FY 2021 is likely to stir up the protective instincts of Capitol Hill and defense communities, because the Air Force is expected to seek cuts to fleets of aircraft in order to save money.

The Air Force needs more money to modernize and to reduce the average age of its geriatric fleet. As a result, they propose cutting approximately $30 billion over the next five years, so they can invest elsewhere. Chief of Staff General Goldfein wants to invest approximately $9 billion in Joint All-Domain Command and Control; approximately $9 billion into Space; approximately $9 billion in offensive systems (like B-21 bomber) and stand-off systems (like B-52 bomber); and about $4 billion in expeditionary airfield capabilities.

Working this issue on Capitol Hill on behalf of the Air Force during the last combat air forces drawdown, I know the Air Force will face headwinds from Congress. More to follow when the new budget is released on February 10th.

We look forward to having you join us again this year as wingmen on behalf of our Air Force and Airmen and their families. Here is some key AFA messaging in order to advocate for the Air Force:  Air Force Association’s Top Issues – 2020.

Air Force Highlights

Budget paranoia is a service core competency.”
- Gen. David Goldfein, Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force 

Goldfein Says 2021 Budget Buys Connectivity by Accepting Capacity Risk
AirForceMag.com | 27 Jan 2020 | by John Tirpak
The Air Force budget about to go to Congress will create some “real-time, near-term risk” in the service’s ability to conduct a war with a peer adversary, but that risk pays for inter-service connectedness that will be a war-winner in the long term, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said Jan. 27.  [Note: AFA’s next Legislative Update will focus on the president’s FY 2021 Budget Request for the Department of the Air Force.] 

"The U.S. Space Force seal honors the Department of the Air Force's proud history and long-standing record of providing the best space capabilities in the world. The delta symbol, the central design element in the seal, was first used as early as 1942 by the U.S. Army Air Forces; and was used in early Air Force space organization emblems dating back to 1961. Since then, the delta symbol has been a prominent feature in military space community emblems.”
- Space Force Officials Wrote on Facebook Post 

Air Force’s top general doesn’t want to get mired in ‘budget paranoia’
DefenseNews.com | 27 Jan 2020 | by Valerie Insinna
As Navy and Army leaders jostle for a bigger piece of the Defense Department budget, the Air Force’s top general doesn’t want to get sucked in the drama.
“Do we need more resources than we have? Absolutely yes. Would I be offering the legacy capabilities to buy the future if I didn’t have to [in order] to balance the books? No. I wouldn’t be asking combatant commanders to take a real-time, near-term risk if we had the resources to do it.”
Space Force, We Have a Seal
AirForceMag.com | 24 Jan 2020 | by Rachel Cohen
President Donald Trump on Jan. 24 unveiled the first official Space Force seal, an early step in the new service’s attempt to craft its own culture.
The seal features an arrowhead symbol over a globe, encircled by a stylized design of an orbit around the Earth. Twenty-two stars adorn the black background, and along the bottom runs year 2019 in Roman numerals: “MMXIX.”
The US Air Force finally has a Space Force, and now some of its bases could be getting new Names
BusinessInsider.com | 7 Jan 2020 | by Christopher Woody
Space Force was created from US Air Force Space Command but is still part of the Air Force, much like the Marine Corps is a part of the Navy Department. Space Force is not meant to put troops into space but will provide forces and assets to Space Command, which leads US military space operations.
The secretary of the Air Force has to tell Congress by February 1 how Space Force will be organized and its expected funding needs. But there are still "thousands and thousands of actions that are going to have to take place" over the next 18 months, Air Force Gen. Jay Raymond said on December 20.
New in 2020: More airmen, pilots coming to help shoulder the load
AirForceTImes.com | 2 Jan 2020 | by Stephen Losey
The Air Force is planning for a robust increase to its end strength this year, continuing efforts to rebuild the force after the drawdown of five years ago.
The fiscal 2020 budget calls for growing the Air Force by 4,400, to 510,600 active, Guard and Reserve airmen. It also aims to produce 1,480 new pilots in 2020, which would be about 170 pilots more than were expected to graduate in 2019.
Goldfein has said the growth will come in a number of crucial career fields, to include operations, maintenance, space, cyber, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
14th Air Force Redesignated as Space Operations Command
AirForceMag.com | 2 Jan 2020 | by Amy McCullough
Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett redesignated 14th Air Force as Space Operations Command following the Dec. 20 establishment of US Space Force as the sixth military service. Airmen that were assigned to the numbered Air Force, which was previously responsible for the organization, training, equipping, command and control, and employment of USAF space forces, are now assigned to SPOC. The new command, whose redesignation also went into effect on Dec. 20, “directly supports the US Space Force’s mission to protect the interests of the United States in space; deter aggression in, from, and to space; and conduct space operations,” according to a Dec. 30 USAF release.

Your Air Force and
Space Force

The U.S. Space Force (USSF)
The USSF is a military service that organizes, trains, and equips space forces in order to protect U.S. and allied interests in space and to provide space capabilities to the joint force. USSF responsibilities include developing military space professionals, acquiring military space systems, maturing the military doctrine for space power, and organizing space forces to present to our Combatant Commands.

Quotes to Note

“Space is the world’s newest warfighting domain. Amid grave threats to our national security, American superiority in space is absolutely vital. We’re leading, but we’re not leading by enough, and very shortly we’ll be leading by a lot.”
- Pres. Donald J. Trump
"It is President Trump's belief that the United States must remain as dominant in space as we are on land and sea and the air. And your charge [Gen Raymond] is to see to that mission with the United States Space Force."
- Vice President, Michael Pence

“If you want to go fast, all the authorities are right there. They’re written down. They’re allowed. All you have to do is get the bosses to say, ‘Yes, go do that.’ However, in setting up the structure over the years, whether it’s the acquisition side or the requirements side, we have set up this very bureaucratic, risk-averse structure that tells people that there’s a right way to go through the process to achieve success without failing at the end. But in almost every case, those answers are very slow.”
- Gen. John Hyten, Vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
"We don't do software well in the Department of Defense, but we have to."
- Gen. John Hyten, Vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff

Key Dates to Watch


  • Feb 4 - State of the Union Address

  • Feb 6 - Mitchell Inst. Breakfast with Stephen Kitay, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy, Capitol Hill Club

  • Feb 10 - President’s FY 2020 Budget Request Released

  • Feb 26-28 - AFA's Air Warfare Symposium

  • Sep 14-16 - AFA’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference, Gaylord Conference Center, National Harbor, MD

If you have questions, please contact:

Keith Zuegel, (Ret.), USAF
Senior Director, Government Relations
Air Force Association (AFA)