Freight Train to Space
In order to stay ahead in the increasingly "contested environment" of space, the Air Force "will move to a freight train to space model," Brig. Gen. Stephen Whiting said Friday. Speaking at an AFA Mitchell Institute talk in Washington, DC, Whiting said "frequent, regularly scheduled launches from common launch platforms with standard interfaces" are a key piece of the Air Force's Space Enterprise Vision. The strategy looks to revamp the space program to better defend US military assets and prepare for the possibility of a war in space. Whiting said USAF also must streamline development and acquisition processes in order to better adapt to new threats in space. Whereas current timelines require "10-15 years or more to field a new system that will be vulnerable to the threat from day one," Whiting insisted the Air Force needs to achieve life cycles of "three to five or five to seven years" in order to maintain superiority in space. Crucial to the DOD's ability to hit this target, he said, would be the increased ability to "partner with allies in the commercial and civil space sectors."