by Staff Sgt. Carlin Leslie
Air Force Public Affairs Agency
5/22/2014 - WASHINGTON -- At an
annual gathering of civil, military and industry professionals from
across the globe, Under Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning
emphasized Air Force contributions through space and cyberspace.
Fanning was the featured keynote speaker during the 30th Space Symposium dinner May 20 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The under secretary said Air Force missions are not only global but
complex -- and operate in multiple places and domains, like space and
cyberspace, that people don't necessarily know about or see.
"We are not just a warfighting service," explained Fanning, who is the
focal point on the Air Force staff for space operations, policy and
acquisition. "We are also an intelligence service - (intelligence,
surveillance and reconnaissance), cyber and space together. We are
one-stop shopping for the president. We can tell him what's going on
anywhere in the world - and if he wants us to - we can do something
about it, anywhere in the world, anytime."
The under secretary said the Air Force has provided this type of
support, not just to the president, but to combatant commanders for
"Space power has also been a key element of warfighting for more than 30
years, providing a unique vantage to observe activity around the globe,
relay terrestrial communications and provide precision position
information," Fanning said.
However, space is not just a one-nation show, Fanning said, and that a global domain requires a global team.
He mentioned multiple international agreements and said the Air Force
has recently furthered defense cooperation by establishing a partnership
with Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom on combined space
"Combined space operations allow better collaboration on space
activities that we agree are most critical, such as identifying objects
in orbit and understanding what they're doing, avoiding satellite
collisions and contributing towards a safer, more secure space
environment," Fanning said.
He also said the Air Force is working hard to reduce spending while
ensuring delivery of necessary space capabilities to the warfighter. For
example, the Air Force found significant savings in the Evolved
Expendable Launch Vehicle program with long-term contracts and is
supporting new entrants for certification.
While launch costs are a concern, Fanning said he also wants to make
sure the Air Force has reasonable and resilient satellite programs.
"A larger constellation of smaller satellites might be more affordable
for some missions, so that even if one satellite fails, there will be
others that can pick up the slack," Fanning said. "That is the benefit
of creating a resilient architecture."
Fanning explained the reason for a resilient architecture relies not
only on the fact that debris exists in space that can potentially damage
or eliminate a satellite, but also because space is no longer
considered a sanctuary.
"We cannot assume that our deployed systems will either be inaccessible
or unnoticed, and thus undisturbed," Fanning said. "Our potential
adversaries are well aware of the distinct advantages that our space
systems provide us, and they are developing counter-space capabilities
in pursuit of asymmetric goals."
Fanning also acknowledged the work of both government and industry
professionals in developing space capabilities into the ubiquitous
assets they are today and he emphasized working within current budget
"Thank you for the work you have done to advance our capabilities in
space," Fanning said. "I challenge you to continue to help ensure we
maintain a leading edge in space now and 30 years from now, particularly
in this challenging political and fiscal environment."