Staying Relevant

The seamless integration of air and space is imperative for the future of air power, said Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles AFB, Calif. “Airpower begins 23,000 feet up in space,” Greaves said during a November event co-sponsored by the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies and RAND Corp. The Air Force offers global reach, vigilance, and power, and “space assets are a very efficient way and a very effective way to deliver … these very needed effects,” he said. But Air Force Space Command boss Gen. John Hyten said the command is the oldest in the Air Force, noting some of the technologies moving forward may not be adequate to keep the Air Force on the cutting edge of providing the necessary support for air power. “We will need to justify radical changes in design and infrastructure to ourselves, [our] superiors, and Congress, and seek to answer the question: why change now,” Greaves said. Those changes include considering satellite disaggregation as a means, though not the end-all solution, to the way we obtain information in space. Key, he said, is ramping up the way the Air Force thinks about technology, and being proactive, rather than reactive as technology continues to change. “As we are completing the building out of the current generation of space systems, we must continue in earnest with developing the next generation,” said Greaves.