“The fact that they’re essentially building, refining, and updating their space capabilities at essentially twice the rate we’re currently in, means that very soon, if they If we don’t begin to accelerate our capacity to develop and deliver, they will exceed us,” said General Thompson, adding, “2030 is not an unreasonable estimate.”
General Thompson joins Representative Jim Cooper, a Tennessee Democrat who chairs the House Armed Services Committee’s strategic forces subcommittee, which helps oversee the Space Force budget, and Chris Kubasik , president and CEO of L3Harris Technologies, a defense contractor that develops Space and Parachute systems.
“That’s right,” Cooper said, when asked if the US is competing in a space race with China.
Both General Thompson and Kubasik agreed with Cooper’s assessment.
Cooper is a staunch supporter of the Space Force, but said Saturday the force isn’t moving fast enough to “keep up” with private industry.
“It’s great that the private sector is so much more innovative than our Air Force, and we need to get the Space Force much more innovative and try to keep up with the private sector,” Cooper said.
He added: “To truly excel, we must go beyond the imagination of Elon Musk, the imagination of Jeff Bezos, beyond their pockets. Space is, do we do enough?”
Cooper suggests the Space Force should be like the Office of National Reconnaissance, which monitors government space satellites and provides satellite intelligence to a number of US agencies.
“The NRO has actually done a pretty amazing job,” Cooper said. “They’re not as well known as some of the other agencies. … But I had a briefing recently with the NRO and the Space Force. My conclusion from that meeting was: thank God for the NRO. I anxiously awaiting the day when I can say the same about the Space Force.”
When asked to respond, General Thompson said, “As Congressman Cooper has noted, every time we meet, Congressman Cooper asks what he can continue to do to help, and my request to he has always been: continues to be our strongest supporter and most difficult critic, and I can say this morning he continues to be effective in both of those roles. ,” causing the entire audience to burst into laughter.