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Guest: Lt. Gen. Steven Kwast, USAF; Topics: Creating a U.S. Space Force, economic protection and power, lunar industrialization, China in space plus much more.
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We welcomed for the first time Lt. General Steven Kwast, USAF, to The Space Show for a one segment 64 minute discussion focusing on the need for a U.S. Space Force. Please note that I have posted two important articles on our blog for your added information. Both Articles, "America Is Losing the Second Space Race to China" and "Newt Gingrich trying to sell Trump on a cheap moon plan." While we focused on the need for creating the U.S. Space Force, many other topics were talked about, explained plus many listener email questions were answered.
Our discussion, with our guest citing numerous examples to support what he was saying, relied on history and facts to support the need for a U.S. Space Force. Much was said during the program about China and their space plans, plus the Chinese progress in areas that are of great concern and pose potential risk to the US including electromagnetic issues and how to impact our electrical grid. Listeners wanted to know if we were weaponizing space and if a military space force would run the risk of military confrontation in space. Listeners also wanted to know why a full blown Space Force was needed rather than just an Air Force reorganization and prioritization of space but within the AF. General Kwast was very clear in explaining the military role of assuring peace by making sure our economy and culture are protected. This theme and need was repeated many times during our discussion don't miss it. As to why we need the full blown Space Force, he made a strong case for it throughout our full hour together.
Our guest pointed out the risks of holding outdated visions, especially from the 1980's era, plus the risk in getting caught up in the status quo with large and often bloated bureaucracies. Much was said about this as well as the need for having a modern, expansive vision and understanding how space protects, enhances and grows our economy and keeps the world safe and secure Please share your thoughts on these concepts by posting them on our blog. In addition, note the continued focus of our guest on the importance of protecting our economy and free markets plus making sure that the military power was used to assure peace, not to fight.
The rule of law and culture was a big part of this discussion. Gen. Kwast made it clear why it was important for the U.S. rule of law to be the controlling rule of law in space, not the Chinese law. He connected the dots to free markets, economic growth, and competitiveness among commercial players, as well as serving as a driver for entrepreneurial activity and innovation. All of this was discussed in the two articles I referenced above and linked to on our blog.
In discussing the status quo bureaucracy, our guest cited many historical examples where the need was to expand beyond the bureaucracy but when that did not happen, war resulted or economic collapse took place. As part of this conversation, our guest talked about the need for innovative and creative forward thinking leadership. He suggested that part of this leadership implied mission assurance but with smart risk taking, not adopting a risk aversion posture. One example he cited was England just before World War 1 with the bravest and most courageous soldiers and best tanks but then what happened? Pay attention to what he said regarding the consequences of an outmoded vision and strategy.
Toward the end of our discussion, we talked about the $2 billion competitive lunar race prize suggested by our guest along with Newt Gingrich and others. He said this was actually a type of side bet to the government Artemis program. In addition, he indicated that Elon Musk was all in for the race and competition but they were waiting to hear from Jeff Bezos. He talked about the benefit of competition which this plan uses to help get us back to the Moon cheaper and faster than with Artemis. Be sure to listen to all of what was said about this prize competition and read the article linked up on the blog. Post your thoughts about this prize on our blog. Note what he said about advancing technology along with suffering from technological overconfidence.
As we were nearing the end of the program, Gen. Kwast repeated that a space force was a peace maker. He said we needed to build and prepare for the peace value and that the Space Force was not about weaponizing or launching military conflict in space. Make sure you listen to my question as to what it would look like to have a commercial lunar industrial facility on the surface of the Moon and a US Space Force not tethered to Earth. While this was mentioned early in our program, it briefly came up as we were closing. Note that not being tethered to Earth was important in this discussion. Gen. Kwast listed suggested a higher TRL for being able to do that today. In addition, he talked about the maneuverability we would need plus the ability to have full coverage comprehensive eyes and ears in space. In the end, the Space Force, just like the military on Earth, would be there to protect the US economy and culture and to lend aid and assistance to Americans in need.
General Kwast had much to say about big forward thinking vision, leadership, and the Space Force for peace. He addressed real concerns with China that potentially impact the rule of law, our economy, and our lives. Please post your comments/questions on our blog for this show. You can reach General Kwast through me. I hope to bring the general back as a guest as the congressional debate gets going on the type and the need for a space force.