September 14, 2022
Lt. Gen. Nina M. Armagno
Director of Staff, U.S. Space Force
Vice President and General Manager, Mission Solutions, Lockheed Martin Space
In December of 2019, the U.S. Space Force became the first new branch of the country’s armed services in over 70 years. Since then, Space Force has been dedicated to protecting and securing the United States’ interests beyond our atmospheric borders.
During a discussion on Day 1 of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Aerospace Summit, Maria Demaree, Vice President and General Manager of Mission Solutions at Lockheed Martin Space, spoke with Lt. Gen. Nina M. Armagno, Director of Staff of the U.S. Space Force, about how our country is prioritizing and addressing national security in space.
The Space Force’s Priority Is Designing a Resilient and Defensive Force
According to Gen. Armagno, year one of the U.S. Space Force was all about invention.
“We really took a clean-sheet approach to a lot of the various activities we knew we had to go do,” she said.
Such activities included designing their organization and headquarters, working on their first doctrine and first planning guidance, and more. According to Armagno, this was “all in an effort to establish our service from essentially nothing.”
Year two, she said, was about integration, specifically integrating machinery, and bringing over help from other services (i.e., inter-service transfers from the Navy, Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps).
“We are not fully formed yet as a service, meaning we are still working to hire civilians and military … toward our combined end strength of 18,400 people,” said Armagno. “That is a tiny force.”
“We are going to remain a small and mission-focused force, and we have not hired everyone yet that we are out there recruiting and looking for,” she continued. “This year, in year three, we’re working toward our final ultimate goal of about 1,000 inter-service transfers.”
Armagno noted that the U.S. Air Force is working to mitigate global risks by strengthening its resilience and defense.
“We continue to look at designing our entire force,” she said. “We know we need to make our constellations more resilient. We know we need to build defenses, and we are working on what we’re calling ‘force design’ to analyze … how best to do that.”
The U.S. Space Force Will Work with Allies to Achieve Space Superiority
In addition to making constellations more resilient and building our defenses, “we need to think about offensive capabilities,” said Armagno. She noted that the U.S. Space Force’s budget is $24.5 billion — a 40% increase from last year. However, that’s still just 2 to 3% of the U.S. Department of Defense’s budget.
“If you think about all types of capabilities that could be developed — that’s a lot of money, and we need a lot of help,” Armagno said.
“We do need help from allies, and what we’ve done very intentionally is a concept we’re calling ‘Allied By Design,’” she continued. “Together with Australia and other allies … work through capabilities that we can either build together or … collaborate [on] later.”
Armagno added that “we cannot go alone in the space domain,” as it is too much of an undertaking for the U.S. to achieve on its own.
“Once we get our current operations safe, secure, and established, I honestly think commerce will be moving to the moon before we will,” Armagno said. “We have to focus, first and foremost, on the capabilities we provide here in the bounds of earth’s gravity.”
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