Air Force Space Command boss Gen. Robert Kehler said he sees room for a wide debate over space “responsibilities” within the broader defense and Intelligence Community in the upcoming Quadrennial Defense Review. However, during a Wednesday National Space Foundation event (see above), he urged that one thing be left alone. He said the Air Force has got it “right … how we present joint space capabilities to the warfighter.” It’s been a “long and painful process” figuring that out, he said, and now is not the time to stir it all up again. Space is crucial for communications and precision navigation and targeting, and especially in Irregular Warfare, those assets are key to success, Kehler asserted. One starting point for discussion about space responsibilities might be last year’s Allard Commission, which recommended a major shake-up of space responsibilities and the separation of “white” and “black”—open and secret—space programs. Kehler believes the Allard group “probably defined the issues pretty well,” but he was “not delighted” with their suggestions on space “governance.” It also didn’t acknowledge the strides made in getting space support to the operator. Kehler said: “What concerned me a little bit about that committee … I didn’t see in there the way we present forces today. We don’t want to step backwards.”
Three B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing flew over the Indo-Pacific alongside F-16s from the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force as part of a joint large force exercise. The mission began and ended in the continental U.S. The bombers flew 31 hours and landed Jan. 11.