COLORADO SPRINGS — In a keynote speech on Tuesday at the 35th Space Symposium, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan laid out his most forceful case so far for the establishment of a new military branch for space.
Shanahan argued that standing up a Space Force — along with a U.S. Space Command and a Space Development Agency — is what it will take to ensure the United States stays ahead of adversaries that are advancing their space capabilities.
He cast the issue as a matter of both national and economic security.
Most of the substance of Shanahan’s remarks were about the Space Development Agency, a new organization stood up on March 12 and let by former DARPA official Fred Kennedy. Shanahan has made the new agency one of his signature issues. The work of the SDA is not just important to national security but also to the nation’s space economy, he said.
“In addition to the threat, we also see thousands of satellites going into space in the next few years as the cost of launch continues to come down and space technology rapidly advances,” he said. “This will unlock new opportunities and increase the importance of space for the ...