SpaceNotes Edition 12, September 30, 2021
CAPITOL HILL MATTERS
The House has now passed the CR that funds the government through 3 Dec. The bill now goes to the POTUS desk for signature where he will sign the measure. There will be no shutdown. As Jen Psaki, the White House Press Secretary, said on Wednesday, “Our intention is to get a CR passed, so that we do not shut the government down.”
On the debt limit, “There are just 19 days until the Treasury Department exhausts its ability to obtain new loans,” according to Punchbowl News. “If Republicans won’t help, Democrats will need to figure out a way in potentially a matter of weeks to raise or suspend the debt ceiling on their own. Republicans want them to do it under reconciliation, which would require them to specify a new number for the nation’s borrowing limit.
Pelosi [House Speaker Nancy Pelosi] indicated Wednesday night that the reconciliation route isn’t an option, and Schumer has been adamant that it’s not on the table,” according to The Hill.
Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), chairman, SAC-D, said this morning expects the FY22 Defense spending bill to be released on Friday 15 Oct. “And if you see the Defense bill, you’ll probably see all of them” he said.
The confirmation hearing for Dr. David Honey, Nominee to be Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, is scheduled for 0930 on 7 Oct. As mentioned, the confirmation hearing for Mr. Andrew Hunter, Nominee to be Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, is scheduled for 0930 on 5 Oct.
US SPACE FORCE AND US SPACE COMMAND MATTERS
According to a letter obtained by SpaceNews, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) and other lawmakers are asking SecAF to suspend all activities related to the relocation of U.S. Space Command from Colorado Springs to Huntsville, Alabama. Due to “irregularities of the selection process and the effects on national security, we request you pause all actions related to moving U.S. Space Command until thorough reviews by the DoD Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office are complete,” said a Sept. 30 letter to Kendall signed by Bennet and several other Colorado lawmakers. Of note, during a news briefing at Space Symposium, SecAF said, “I’m familiar with both Huntsville and the Colorado area, and I think either one are feasible, certainly as headquarters.” Here’s what the Pentagon Press Secretary said on behalf of SecDef on all of this earlier this year:
John Kirby, the Pentagon Press Secretary, on the Space Command decision: “Secretary Austin has communicated to Air Force leaders that he supports their decision-making process about the preferred location of Space Command headquarters. He understands they will not make a final decision until 2023, and he looks forward to staying informed as they work through those deliberations.” – Bloomberg Government 22 Feb 2021
The letter: https://spacematters.info/?post_type=ht_kb&p=13838&preview=true
Maj. Gen. David Miller. director of operations, training and force development, U.S. Space Command, on how the U.S. needs better capabilities to monitor adversaries’ activities in space: “As you start to think about developing and investing in capabilities for what we need to be focused on in the future … it can’t be 15 years from design to first thing on orbit. You’ve got about a two-year window from flash to bang. And that’s being generous … the first thing you got to be able to do is understand what’s going on, attribute that action, you must know that action is true, and then have a posture which provides resilience and response … to minimize the potential for escalation and prepare for a transition to crisis if needed. And we’re not persistently engaged at a proximity to be able to do that. The infrastructure we built to see shoot, move and communicate over the horizon was not built for conflict … Their [China] doctrine and the capabilities that they’re developing say that they’re going to target those kinds of things.” – SpaceNews 29 Sep 2021
Maj. Gen. David Miller. director of operations, training and force development, U.S. Space Command, on norms of behavior in space: “We want norms, and we want to embrace safe and responsible behavior so as not to confuse or lead to miscalculation. We will respond shortly back to Secretary Austin with ideas on how to do this … identify what reliable, responsible and peaceful behavior is, so that we can quickly attribute and identify what deviations from that look like.” – SpaceNews 29 Sep 2021
Maj. Gen. David Miller. director of operations, training and force development, U.S. Space Command, on the commercial space industry: “We have typically focused on alliances and partnerships almost exclusively to be government to government. That’s valuable, and we still need to do that. But our level of partnerships is going to have to have an unprecedented level of commercial support … so that when we talk resilience, each of us knows what the other person’s talking about and what the expectations are. And when we talk about a hybrid architecture, you understand what defense in depth means … and you understand what level of degradation can be absorbed … It has to be part of a web of capabilities that has a level of resilience built into it, that is part of a larger mesh framework where we will be able to detect and attribute adversary action and at the same time provide critical options to respond.” – SpaceNews 29 Sep 2021
SpaceNews: “U.S. Space Command needs more advanced technologies to track activities, provide indicators of future actions, and needs better ways to integrate military and commercial networks so systems are more resilient.” – 29 Sep 2021
On the U.S. and India’s expanded partnership in space, Dr. K. Sivan, Chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)/ Secretary, Department of Space, told The Times of India:
- Expressing happiness on the proposed SSA pact, Isro chairman K Sivan told TOl, “Once the MoU is signed, it will help us acquire accurate space data and give a
boost to our exercise to safeguard India’s space assets and execute satellite collision avoidance missions in an optimum way.” He said India’s infrastructure set
up for SSA activities like the SSA Control Centre (NETRA project) is “not sufficient enough to protect our satellites from space debris. NETRA, once fully active, will
become part of the global information-sharing network but we need data from other agencies to accurately monitor our satellites all the time. Space has become
crowded therefore info-sharing is vital”. The Isro chairman said “there are three ways of handling space debris: First, whenever space debris is in close proximity of our satellites, a collision avoidance
manoeuvre is done. Second, the space debris removal drive can be launched in which some countries are already engaged and third one is a mitigation plan to
reduce debris by bringing dead satellites into the Earth’s atmosphere and burning them down. But all these three processes can’t be done in isolation and need assistance from other agencies”.
- Full piece: https://timesofindia.com/india/quad-benefit-modi-biden-cement-plan-to-jointly-monitor-space-objects/articleshow/86632616.cms
South Korea Air Force has launched a Space Center “as part of efforts to expand its presence in space and strengthen defense capabilities against emerging threats” in Gyeryong-si, South Korea.
A few podcasts of interest:
American Foreign Policy Council: Space Policy Initiative | American Foreign Policy Council (afpc.org)
The Strategy Bridge: The Podcast (thestrategybridge.org)
Space Watch Global Cyber Café: Space Cafe Archives – SpaceWatch.Global
Defense One: Podcast – Defense One
Space Force Association: Space Force Association – Podcasts – Season One (ussfa.org)
Coalition for Deep Space Exploration: Deep Space Podcast – Explore Deep Space