In August 2018, Congress re-designated the U.S. Air Force Space Command as the United States Space Force, “a military service that organizes, trains, and equips space forces in order to protect U.S. and allied interests in space and to provide space capability to the joint force.” Funded in the 2020 budget, the service employs 16,000 military and civilian personnel.
The world is dependent on space systems for innumerable aspects of life, pointed out Tom Gray, an Education and Training Specialist for the U.S. Army stationed at Fort Leavenworth. Space satellites allow us to surf the web and make our telecommunications system and GPS navigation work. They enable first responders and time-stamp financial transactions. Missile warning systems and weather and environmental monitoring depend on satellites as well. Loss of any of these systems would pose a threat to national prosperity and security.
International Space Law was established in 1967 as an extrapolation of maritime law, that is, defining free access to space for peaceful purposes. Since that time space has become a competitive place. Because we are so dependent on access to space, we recognize that the intention and capability of another country to deny us that access is a threat.
An active Rotarian since 1998, Tom Gray is currently a member of the Leavenworth Rotary Club and has played a number of roles in District 5710.