“It’s just a smart management decision,” Shelton acknowledged about the department-wide review, “but we need to get moving on the space” programs.
If the Space Fence follow-on is not allowed to move forward, officials are looking at improving space surveillance sensors already at Eglin AFB, Fla., for instance. But Shelton said those service-life extensions would still fall short of the low-and-high-inclination orbit coverage that would be provided by Kwajalein.
Nevertheless, Carter noted earlier this year that outer space is a core domain that the military will focus even harder on, despite and because of the budget law (Aerospace DAILY, May 20).
In describing the internal review in May, he said the Pentagon has started a first-ever teaming effort to bring its constellation program staff together with anti-satellite and post-space planners. They are looking at all space issues, apparently, including counter-space and “operating through” — or continuing warfighting — if space capabilities are lost.
According to Shelton, his command has access to a space modernization initiative fund to explore new architectures to address both budget restrictions and emerging threats. “Nobody is relieving us of the requirements — if anything, the requirements for space capabilities are going up.”