Should the Space Force Have a Warfighting-Centric Culture?

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When the United States Space Force (USSF) was formally established in December 2019, questions abounded over how the service would be structured, what capabilities it would control and prioritize, and how it would define and defend U.S. interests in space. In the years since, numerous doctrines and policies have helped provide answers to many of these questions. Some questions, however, cannot be answered in a single document or directive. A common implicit and explicit thread in USSF culture discussions is on whether to identify Guardians as warfighters. The following two essays represent contrasting views of how the concept of the “warfighter” should fit into Space Force culture.

Authors: Paula G. Thornhill, Charles Galbreath, and Robin Dickey

This paper is part of a new series the Center for Space Policy and Strategy is publishing called “The Debate Series.” Each of these papers includes two essays written by analysts and pundits external to The Aerospace Corporation that hold different positions from one another. After having written their essay, the external authors had the opportunity to review the opposing essay and offer a rebuttal. Although these essays do not necessarily reflect views of the Center for Space Policy and Strategy, the center is publishing these essays to clarify debates on national security space issues and to try to make them accessible to a broader audience.