Today’s Tidbits: July 21, 2020

Today’s Tidbits: July 21, 2020

Here are’s tidbits for July 21, 2020:  new Air Force/Space Force Arctic strategy, Space Force getting 2,410 new members, people on the move.  Be sure to check our website for feature stories and follow us on Twitter (@SpcPlcyOnline) for more news and live tweeting of events.

New Air Force/Space Force Arctic Strategy

The Department of the Air Force — which oversees both the Air Force and the new U.S. Space Force — released its new Arctic Strategy today.  Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein, and Chief of Space Operations Gen. Jay Raymond (who is also Commander of U.S. Space Command), discussed it at a virtual Atlantic Council event this afternoon.

“The strategy outlines the Department of the Air Force’s unique role and optimizes Air Force and Space Force capabilities for the region. The Arctic’s increasing strategic importance, coupled with the Services’ significant regional investment, requires the Department to have a unified, deliberate, and forward-looking approach, ensuring the Air and Space Forces can compete and defend the nation’s interests in the Arctic region.”

The connection to space activities may not be obvious, but Raymond explained that installations at Clear, Alaska and Thule, Greenland for ballistic missile warning also are used for space domain awareness (the new term of art at DOD for space situational awareness).  It also will work as part of the Joint Force to develop an Arctic communications roadmap including satellite options.

In a section devoted to Space Capabilities, the strategy says “To operate effectively, the Space Force must overcome Arctic-unique orbital mechanics and electro-magnetic obstacles as well as rising threats from the United States’ principal competitors” and will —

  • “work closely with allies, partners, and the private sector to establish mutually beneficial relationships that address common goals in space and the Arctic region.”
  • “develop new technologies and modernize existing assets in the Arctic necessary to ensure access to and freedom to operate in space.”
  • “devise capabilities to mitigate and predict environmental disturbances unique to the Arctic region.”

Space Force Getting 2,410 New Members

Speaking of the Space Force, it will grow by 2,410 new members on September 1.

On the day Space Force was created, December 20, 2019, 16,000 personnel from Air Force Space Command were ASSIGNED to the Space Force, but they must voluntarily TRANSFER to actually become members.  The first two members of the Space Force were Gen. Jay Raymond, Chief of Space Operations, and Chief Master Sergeant Roger Towberman and they were joined by 86 new Air Force Academy graduates in April.

The Space Force announced on July 16 that it had selected 2,410 to serve in the “organic space specialties of space operations (13S)  and space system operations (1C6).”   More than 8,500 volunteered, but others were in specialties that are common to the Air Force and Space Force and will go through an additional selection process. Transfers into those specialties are expected to begin in February 2021.

People on the Move

  • George Whitesides has a new job at Virgin Galactic — Chief Space Officer.  For the past 10 years, he has been the company’s CEO, but is moving into a new role focused on future business opportunities including point-to-point hypersonic travel and orbital space travel.  Succeeding him as CEO is Michael Colglazier from the Walt Disney Company where he most recently was President and Managing Director Disney Parks International.  The change was effective yesterday.
George Whitesides (left) and Michael Colglazier (right). Credit: Virgin Galactic
Caryn Schenewerk (from her LinkedIn page)
  • Caryn Schenewerk is the new Vice President, Regulatory and Government Affairs, for Relativity Space.  Previously SpaceX’s senior counsel and senior director of space policy, Schenewerk said she is excited to join a company “that represents the next generation of innovative, high-tech launch capabilities.” Relativity is building the world’s first entirely 3D printed rocket, Terran 1, that can be “built from raw material to flight in less than 60 days” at its Stargate factory.


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