Friday, December 18, 2020


 To Infinity...and Beyond!

From the link above:

"Space Force members have an official new name: Guardians, Vice President Mike Pence announced Friday.

"Soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Guardians will be defending our nation for generations to come," Pence said during a ceremony to commemorate the Space Force's 1st birthday, coming up on Dec. 20."

 Oh. OH. Now I'm SO sorry I retired before I got to have fun with this. 

It's perfect as it is, but I know I can make it better. I feel the "Acting 1SG Lawes Reads The Morning Formation Announcements" typing itself already.

Update 12/19: And, yep, here it is.


  1. Great link! It would have been great to have a waggish first sergeant as funny as acting 1SG Lawes. I would bet the new name does not stick despite the reported year-long-process and hundreds of votes that recommended the name (election fraud maybe?). Like the Coast Guardsmen who are never called Guardsmen or Guards but instead are generally called Coasties, the Space Force troops will be called Spacers, or something similar.

    I wonder what 1SG Lawes or Jimmy Kimmel could do with the Space Force motto: SemperSupra?

    1. "Always Above" in the same sense of park pigeons above a statue...

    2. My guess? The organization will keep a low profile for six months or a year and then slowly walk this back. The problem? Where to? "Spaceman"? I can see the colloquialism "spacies" being used in conversation, but what official term would work that doesn't sound utterly goofy?

      The real-world issue that this all sort of wraps back to, FWIW, is that this organization is utterly unmoored in ways that none of the other four services are. Armies and navies? Simple. Marines? Sea-soldiers. Even a separate Air Force - which I'm not entirely sold on as an entity (I think it pulls the focus away from the real work the organization should be doing - CAS, transport, and reconnaissance - into "strategic" tasks (especially long-range bombing) that are the central core of the justification for HAVING a separate AF but tend to throw a crap-ton of money at something that hasn't proven to return the cost... - had a doctrinal and organizational basis when it was formed.

      The Spacies have bits and pieces worked out mostly by the USAF that don't really constitute a doctrine, and I strongly suspect will tend to go hunting for enemies to fight rather than let themselves be boring old satellite-tenders, glorified commo dogs and weathermen. I note that several recent USG press releases have grossly exaggerated the PRC's space capabilities and intentions, which leads into this.

      But the "Guardians" thing was just too precious to resist...

    3. Yeah, it's a really dumb name but there is a lack of alternatives that are also not dumb.

      And personally, I think there is a much bigger justification and need for a separate cyber service than there is for a space service.

      And just to nitpick, the Air Force was only focused on strategic long-range bombing during WW2 and the Cold War. And, especially in the latter case, it was completely justified in doing so. Nuclear war is the pinnacle of decisive and strategic conflict and it was completely appropriate and necessary to preference that mission set.

      Once the Cold War was over, the USAF disestablished Strategic Air Command which happened almost 30 years ago now. It hasn't been the major focus for the service in a very long time and the existing bomber fleet was retooled to be multi-role way back in the 1990's.

    4. "Cyber" is no job for a military, and questionable if a government can do it well in general.

      It makes sense to have a separate military counterespionage agency (separate from one for the civilian parts of government), which then can obsess about IT security as part of its job.

    5. Andy: Yeah, they don't really have a lot of good options here. "Plus "Brute Exterminator" was taken, although I think it'd be worth working on just so they could replace that silly Latin motto with the line from Zardoz: "The gun is good. The penis is evil." No other service would rock a motto like that.

      And although I still think the fighter jocks and bomber and missile guys have too much say inside the USAF as opposed to the CAS gang, I agree that the strategic bombing community isn't what it was. My point was that in the Forties - as the USAAF leaders pushed to be a USAF - strategic bombing WAS a central core of the doctrine that made the case for a stand-alone Air Force. And that was about 150% more coherent and reasonable than what the current Space Force has as a core doctrine...

    6. Love the Zardoz reference! I need to see that movie again - it's been decades.

    7. Sean Connery in a posing pouch? What's not to love?

      Mind you, the whole dream sequence near the end is totally WTF? unless you remember how much acid we dropped in the late Sixties/early Seventies...

    8. I forgot to add that students at the Space Academy will be, of course, "Space Cadets" and that flag-rank Space officers will be known collectively as "Star Lords".

  2. i'm with Andy. bring on the cybernauts and ditch the spacers.

    and although Sven has a point that cyber does not fit well with military hierarchy, there are ways around that. bring in a modern day William Donovan and recruit the best and brightest from Silicon Valley and the Research Triangle and Huntsville and many other hi-tech centers. their roots and startup money originally came from the pentagon. and decades before the pentagon was built it came from the War & Navy departments. its time for payback.

    If not a cyber OSS, then give it to a modern day Manhattan Project under the direction of a new General Groves guided by a Military Policy Committee.

    1. Recruit the best and the brightest ... into a bureauracy? With military bureaucracy pay grades??? How?

      Any military "cyber" division is going to end up as lots of chieftains project managing civilian contractors whose tech and culture they don't understand.
      It's a recipe for throwing away public funds.

      Attribution of "cyber" attacks is almost entirely impossible. The only reliable way its to learn from within the attackers through espionage. All kinds of signatures, lapses and IP addresses can be faked for false flag.
      So "cyber" attack is not an acceptable form of defence. You don't even know who attacks you (even if you believe you know it), so deterrence and revenge don't work. No other state actor will be deterred because he can be smeared with false flags anyway, so why hold back?
      Imagine four gangsters with knifes who hate each other standing in a circle in a dark room. One begins to stab another, a scream is heard ... why would anyone not stab the others? There's no deterrence. He'll be stabbed himself anyway.

      There's no national "cyber" defence possible either, even when disconnected from the internet. A Chinese "cyber" attack could be launched from a laptop in downtown Atlanta. The attack is going into some agency or corporate network and there's no border or coast or airspace to defend.

      The one real defence against "cyber" that works is the exact OPPOSITE of what U.S. agencies are doing: Strengthening the civilian, private IT security.
      Instead, U.S. agencies (and sadly also other Western agencies) pressure the IT sector to install backdoors and encryption vulnerabilities that ultimately make the whole nation more vulnerable.

      All those military and intelligence institutions doing "cyber" are indeed offensive-minded because the real defence work is not suiting their tastes.

    2. I don't see how offensive/defensive cyber is uniquely unable to be done by military or government personnel. China and Russia both seem to have cracked that nut.

      That's not to downplay the challenges, which are significant. The US still has a bureaucracy rooted in the 1950's and "agility" is a term that no thinking person associates with US government activities.

      Still similar problems have been addressed before by creating semi-independent agencies. The problem is those agencies develop into the kinds of bureaucracies they were designed to avoid or end up being knifed by parochial interests. See for example the NRO, SOCOM, DARO and others.

    3. Russia and China do offensive "cyber" becuase they're the evil players.

      Neither of them has the slightest claim to have effective defensive "cyber". They can be hacked just fine.

    4. ...and have been; we in the US are kind of in a glass house where cyberattacks are concerned, given that our hackers do this a LOT. The targets (in the PRC or Russia or wherever) just don't squeal when they get pinched the way we do.

      I'm old enough to remember when the digital age was in it's infancy, and several of the people involved in DARPANET (or ARPANET, if memory serves) went to the civilian IT developers and begged for stricter security measures. The civvies, who wanted sales, not customers complaining that they couldn't log on because they'd forgotten their passwords, weren't interested. So a lot of the vulnerability to hacks is baked into those systems.

      US "red teams" have repeatedly hacked into US networks; every time there's a brief kerfluffle, a handful of cosmetic changes are made, and business as usual goes on. To really harden those systems would be to admit that a lot of stupid decisions or lack of them were made and the result is that a LOT of money would have to be spent unfucking those decisions, and no bureaucrat wants to be the one on whose watch that happens...

    5. S O, I think you are conflating CYBERCOM vs. NSA. This is the reason why they need to be separated. CYBERCOM defends the DODIS and supports COCOMs conducting military operations. That's it. They don't do attribution, that is for NSA and the IC.

      A lot of what you are talking about is outside of CYBERCOM scope and Mission Statement:
      "USCYBERCOM plans, coordinates, integrates, synchronizes and conducts activities to: direct the operations and defense of specified Department of Defense information networks and; prepare to, and when directed, conduct full spectrum military cyberspace operations in order to enable actions in all domains, ensure US/Allied freedom of action in cyberspace and deny the same to our adversaries."

      With that said, there are tons of challenges that you alluded too, such as the fact that the majority of senior leaders are old combat arms officers (lots of FA), but there are a lot of very talented company grade leaders who are making their way up the ranks.

      Ultimately, cyber defense is a whole of government effort that has to be led by the NSC due to the fact that it is all interconnected. All of this requires strategy and synchronization (God help us all).