WASHINGTON — In the face of mounting criticism from inside and outside the government, during a congressional hearing today Chief of Space Operations Gen. John Raymond has admitted the vast majority of space doctrine is created by "just adding 'space' before all space nouns.”
“I would like to offer my sincere space apologies on behalf of Space Force to everyone who put their space trust in us,” said Raymond. “We have probably not been sufficiently diligent space custodians of the space public’s space money.”
Raymond claims he did not intend any wrongdoing, and originally intended only to create a doctrinal stopgap to address an exigent national security requirement.
“Of our potential peer and near peer enemies, 100 percent of them are in space, most significantly Russia and China," Raymond told the committee members. "When I was appointed, I quickly realized that, where we should have had highly developed space doctrine inherited from [Air Force] Space Command, there was just a giant vacuum. I didn’t have enough space staff to produce it, so I started working on it myself just to get something out there we could edit later.”
“At first I’d be reading Earth doctrine and thinking 'Are the principles of offensive operations really going to be so different in space? I could just relabel this and have a 70 percent solution right now,'’ he said. “In space retrospect, that was just a space rationalization. Eventually, I stopped reading and just started blindly relabeling things to create more and more space doctrine.”
This rush led to Raymond being exposed shortly after the publication of Space Force's Use of Space Pack Animals manual. The backlash from both Congress and the rest of the Department of Defense was immediate, and seems to have been aggravated several days later by the publication of an Air Force memorandum aggressively attempting to expand the Space Force remit even further.
"We have known for a century that space and time are not truly separate, but are best understood as a single, four-dimensional construct," begins the now infamous memo from Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David "Fingers" Goldfein. "Therefore, now that the Department of the Air Force has been designated as responsible for space operations by the creation of Space Force, it is effectively the department responsible for spacetime operations. Consequently, it should immediately receive control of all force structure and funding related to both futures directorates and history divisions."
During the hearing, Space Force proponents Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) responded both to Goldfein's memo and Raymond's admission with harsh words for the Air Force and the semi-independent Space Force they have helped to create.
“I think we may have gotten carried away with Space Force, because this is the exact lack of Space Force substance and transparent Air Force resource grab we didn't want," said Cooper.
"Looking back now, every poorly understood domain or transition between domains may not require its own military branch, or necessarily even require a lot of resources within another branch,” added Rogers, prompting nervous amphibious glances from the Marines in the room, and airborne coughs from some of the soldiers.
“Also, of all the ways to develop our operations and capabilities in a new domain, I'm starting to wonder if there's any less efficient way than creating a new branch and asking them to figure it out for us," said Cooper. "In retrospect, if that's going to be our solution, we need to establish some clear indicators that would tell us if the experiment has failed and the new branch should be disbanded."
"Otherwise, in our rush to prepare for the future of warfare, we might inadvertently make a branch that's just a self-perpetuating resource drain. And looking at this doctrine fiasco, who's to say how relevant it would even be in terms of the capabilities it provides to joint operations?”
During Cooper’s remarks, representatives from the Air Force were observed quietly making their way out of the room while avoiding eye contact with all present. Though the hearing has not yet resulted in any punitive action, Cooper ended the day with a strong warning.
“To any other leaders in the Department of Defense who think they can use poorly developed doctrine or vague warnings about emerging domains and the changing character of warfare to siphon resources for their branch, we will be doubly vigilant following this scandal," Cooper said. "Today I have requested that Secretary Esper conduct a review of all doctrine to search for other instances of this fraud.”
Those in the room then turned to look at representatives from Cyber Command, but they seemed to have made a hasty cyber exit through the side cyber door.
Duffel Blog reporter G-Had cyber contributed space reporting to this article