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Top leaders of the U.S. Air Force are doing their best to counter the narrative that they oppose President Trump’s plan to establish a Space Force.
“The United States Air Force is all in on Space Force and we’ve been contributing input to making the President’s vision a reality,” Lt. Gen. John Thompson, commander of the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, told the MILCOM technology conference yesterday in Los Angeles. (h/t Kim Underwood of Signal Magazine)
SMC oversees $7 billion a year in space program funding, and is where most of the Defense Department’s space expertise and resources reside. Thompson noted that SMC stands ready to help the Space Force. “The U.S. Space Force is going to need experts,” he said.
Thompson’s remarks come on the heels of extensive comments by Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson last week on “The Takeout” podcast with CBS News’ Major Garrett.
“I am completely aligned with the president,” Wilson insisted, reiterating what she had said publicly over the past several months. Garrett pressed Wilson to address the rumor that the president was “peeved” at her for opposing the Space Force and was considering replacing her.
Garrett: “Do you have any reason to believe the president is peeved with you?”
Garrett: “Do you have any reason to believe you’re in any jeopardy?”
Wilson: “Not at all”
Garrett: “So what’s behind a report saying there is distance between you and the president?”
Wilson: “I wouldn’t put too much stock in it.” And she added, facetiously, “When the White House denied it, my husband was very disappointed.”
Garrett: “Are you willing to serve after the midterms?”
Wilson: “I take my life day by day.”
On the Space Force issue, the secretary also pushed back on Garrett’s suggestion that the Air Force could end up weakened by the establishment of a new service that presumably would draw on Air Force resources.
The Air Force is focused on “developing capabilities,” she said. “The organization chart is less important.”
She repeated one of her frequent lines that the Air Force is “the best in the world at space.” That said, “Our adversaries want to deny us use of space” and the question is “do we organize in a different way given the emergence of a new threat and a new set of circumstances?”