SPACE CHIEF CALLS ON AIR FORCE TO PREPARE FOR FUTURE IN SPACE
April 23, 1997
DIRECTORATE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS, NORAD/U.S. Space Command
Release No. 9-97
LAS VEGAS, NEV. -- Gen. Howell M. Estes III, commander of
chief of U.S. Space Command, called on the Air Force, the nation
and world to fully realize the promise of space in remarks today at
the Air Force Association’s annual Air Power Symposium in Las
The time has come to “. . . force cultural change in the Air Force,
the military, the nation and the world, creating the conditions that
will allow us to take full advantage of technological advances and
breakthroughs that we cannot possibly foresee, but will surely
happen,” he said.
He also encouraged the U.S. Air Force to “ . . . begin the cultural
evolution of thought towards a space and air force.” Senior Air
Force’s leaders have already acknowledged that their service will
eventually become a space and air force.
Although the impact of space is widely appreciated in commerce,
civil government and the military, according to the general, the
average American has yet to realize the impact space already has on
their daily lives.”
“I work every single day tring to espouse the benefits derived from
space, inform on our dependence on space, and advocate for
further investment in space . . . ,” Gen. Estes said.
Gen. Estes also said America’s reliance on space -- and it
contributions to our quality of life and economic prosperity --
represents a vulnerability that needs to be protected from
adversaries. Currently the U.S. has more than 220 satellites in orbit
representing a commercial, civil and military investment worth in
excess of $100 billion.
Citing the importance of space to today’s military operations, Gen.
Estes stressed that the word “warfighter” must now encompass air,
land, sea and space. Gen. Estes also is the commander in chief of
North American Aerospace Defense Command and commander of
Air Force Space Command.
New systems on the horizon will allow U.S. forces to access and
control the military “space theater,” he says. The Evolved
Expendable Launch Vehicle, now under development, will provide
affordable access to space by cutting launch costs (military, civil
and commercial) by as much as 50%. The Space Based Infrared
System, designed to improve worldwide missile launch warning,
represents a new surveillance capability that will help make hostile
actions on and near the earth’s surface “transparent” to U.S.