Colorado Springs, Colo. The US must strengthen its space posture so that warfighters can continue to count on the space capabilities they’ve come to rely on, Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work said Tuesday at the 32nd Space Symposium here. During the Cold War, the US and the Soviet Union developed red lines that they would not cross, but after the Cold War ended, “We began to think of space as a sanctuary. We believed that the red lines would kind of hold,” and DOD fielded a small number of “extremely capable space systems” that traded resilience for mission assurance. Even as space became central to conventional warfighting, “We spent little time thinking about how to protect these capabilities,” Work said. “Space became a function, rather than a mission.” The growing vulnerability of our space assets is “a strategic and operational problem for the United States,” that provides incentives for a competitor to preempt our space assets, he said. The US must “remove the likelihood that attacks on our space capabilities could succeed,” and put in place a diverse set of resilience measures, Work said. “Whatever the naysayers say … we can and will assure our space systems against any and all threats against them.”
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.