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Guest: Sandra Erwin; Topics: National Security Space, creating a Space Force, military space trending issues, national security space trending issues and more. Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website, www.thespaceshow.com. Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.
We welcomed Sandra Erwin to the show for a wide ranging discussion on trending national security and space issues. Ms. Erwin kicked off the discussion by addressing the reorganization of the US military with regards to creating a separate US Space Force. We spent a good portion of our one segment 70 minute program talking about the space force and related issues. We talked about administrative as well as operational budget issues, options ranging from doing nothing and leaving space alone and as is in the Air Force to creating the separate space force to making space a special section within the Air Force. Also discussed in some detail was the role of congress, the competency of congress to deal with sophisticated space military, defense, and technology issues, plus the partisanship being applied to the process. It appears that what was once clearly bipartisan is now shaping up along partisan lines. Please pay attention to this discussion it included many important and relevant talking points and issues to be considered. I especially liked how our guest responded to the questions about congress being competent in these issues to make effective policy.
Listeners sent in several email questions. For example, Jack in Albuquerque, NM sent in a question about Dr. Griffin and Chinese hypersonic weapons and our finding ourselves in a serious catch-up game. This led to a discussion about policy making, procurement, and just exactly who makes policy and how it is has been made. Reforms were discussed and mentioned as needed. Jack and others wanted to know if it mattered or not in creating a special separate space force if the policy making system was not somehow changed and improved.
Other questions came in referencing China and wondering if we were being given fair assessments about China and their military space intentions or if the American public was being fear bated re China and Russia. Don't miss what Sandra said in response to these concerns. Let us know what you think by posting your comments on the blog.
Paul in New York asked about the vulnerability of our smart weapons which depend on GPS and space. He was concerned about bad actors jamming the signal or even taking out the satellites. Sandra described the ongoing efforts to interfere with GPS and other military satellites but she also talked about improvements in them to resist these attacks. She talked about the new and improved GPS 3 satellites coming into use, better hardening and other methods use to secure our space assets. She said the difficulty is always in making sure we are prepared and our assets are defendable, keeping all our interests in balance. Don't miss this discussion.
The use by the military of commercial and business space assets was discussed. This was being advocated by the planners and policy folks as a way of getting more bang for the buck in space by taking advantage of what the private sector can bring to the table. She suggested this was a growing issue within military and national space and we would likely see more use of the commercial sector in this segment in the future.
Near the end of the program, Randy asked if national security journalists had security clearances or had to follow specific instructions and guidelines when getting information and writing article. Again, don't miss what our guest said about this. In addition, as the program was winding down, we talked more about budget issues and what might prove to be trending in the last quarter of the year. Another topic that came up included the shortage of AF and Navy pilots and the shortage of spare parts for the military planes. Sandra talked about this and mentioned that key players such as the Secretary of the Air Force were working on ways to improve the situation. She also provided a bit of history to this problem which included an earlier reliance on drones which detracted from the resources going to pilots and planes.
Todd from San Diego got in the last question. He wanted to know if our guest had ever heard anyone in the military or associated with national defense/national security say that we needed to control the high ground in space for security. By high ground, he said the Moon or Mars or maybe being in orbit. Do not miss what Sandra said in response to this question as it was a very interesting response. Hint: No. As we ended the discussion, Sandra told everyone how they could subscribe to her free weekly email newsletter regarding national security and space matters.
Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog for this show. You can reach Sandra Erwin through me or her Space News email newsletter.