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A Separate Space Force

An 80-Year-Old Argument

Colonel Michael C. Whittington, USAF
2000, 25 pages
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Cost: $0, AU Press Code: MP-20

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Since the end of the Gulf War, the debate over whether there should be a separate space service, equal with the Air Force, Army, and Navy, has grown in proportion to the indispensable value of space operations to our nation’s defense. Increasing dependency on space-systems is a fact of military life. In this well-documented essay, Col Michael C. Whittington compares the leading arguments for a separate space force to the cogent arguments for an independent air force made by airpower advocates during the interwar years of 1920–1940. The airpower issues in 1920 and the space power issues of today are strikingly similar, revolving around four key issues: leadership, doc-trine, technology, and funding. The irony, of course, is that these arguments, which helped create an independent air force in 1947, are challenged by many within today’s Air Force leadership, which leads Colonel Whittington to ask, “If they were cogent in 1920, would they not be relevant today?”

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