On September 15, 2019, former assistant secretary of the Air Force and IWP Trustee Hon. Tidal W. McCoy appeared on the CATS Roundtable podcast to discuss the state and future of America’s Space Force.
Despite the recent spike in press coverage, discussions of space’s role in the national security strategy are not new. In the interview, Mr. McCoy recalled his discussions about this topic during the Reagan administration, when the importance of space began to be recognized and people began to push back on the fighter-pilot culture of the U.S. Air Force. The United States has been a pioneer in this field, having stood up history’s first space command on September 1, 1982. After being subsumed by Strategic Command in 2002, the relevance of Space Command dropped significantly. Mr. McCoy credits the Trump administration for their efforts in renewing Space Command, standing up the Space Force, and bringing the military applications of space back into the national conversation. Both space and cyber are two domains that were left behind as a result of post-Cold War budget cuts and the U.S. armed forces’ transformation into a counterinsurgency force in the years since 9/11.
These strategic weaknesses have taken on a new importance, as China and Russia plan on using space to seize the high ground and gain a strategic advantage over the U.S. Currently, U.S. Space Command is headed by a four-star USAF officer, and is comprised of two major subcommands: attack, either in space or on earth, and the defense of U.S. satellites. Right now, only Russia and China are threats to those satellite systems, although Iran and India are on the horizon.
When asked about renewed public interest in UFOs, McCoy stated that UFOs are outside the mission of Space Command. He also recognizes that there are some credible claims and some unexplained things in UFO reports.
In sum, McCoy briefly touched upon the new issues regarding military, civil, and commercial space, which we ignore at our own peril.