U.S. Space Force Gen. John W. Raymond, Chief of Space Operations, is greeted by members of Space Base Delta 2 at Buckley Space Force Base, Colo., Sept. 6, 2022.

U.S. Space Force Gen. John W. Raymond, Chief of Space Operations, is greeted by members of Space Base Delta 2 at Buckley Space Force Base, Colo., Sept. 6, 2022. U.S. Space Force / Airman 1st Class Shaun Combs

The Air & Space Brief: The Space Force song is here; Inflation tops troops’ concerns; Air Force Secretary says invading Taiwan would be ‘enormous mistake’ for China

Welcome to the Defense One Air and Space newsletter. Here are our top stories this week:  

The song has landed: A couple months shy of its third birthday, the Space Force has an official song. Chief of Space Operations Gen. Jay Raymond unveiled the tune Tuesday at the Air, Space, and Cyber Conference outside Washington, D.C., saying that it fits in with the other service melodies and represents the service’s mission well. The song, which debuted with a lyric video, live band, and chorus, includes lyrics like “We’re the mighty watchful eye/ Guardians beyond the blue/ The invisible front line/ Warfighters brave and true.”

Are you a fan? Initial reviews of the song are in on Twitter—and they’re not great. Let us know what you think by tweeting at @DefenseOne or @jacqklimas.

Launch takes off: The nominee to lead the Space Force told lawmakers last week he’s worried an increased launch rate, driven by more commercial launches and the rise of small satellite constellations, could cause traffic jams at the military’s launch ranges in Florida and California. “Currently, our capacity on our ranges meets the governmental needs, but with the proliferation of small satellites, that’s going to change rapidly,” Lt. Gen. Chance Saltzman told the Senate Armed Services Committee. 

It’s a concern echoed by Raymond on Tuesday, who said Vandenberg Space Force Base oversaw just 25 launches when he served there in 2005, but that global launches are expected to grow to 300 per year in the next few years. “The manifest is changing and it’s changing rapidly,” he said. 

Rate power challenge: Paying for gas, rent, and childcare—not the growing threat from China and Russia—is what keeps troops up at night. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said Monday at the opening day of the ASC conference that inflation is troops’ top concern, adding that he “knows we can't expect airmen, guardians to give their all to the mission when they are worried about paying for gas to get to work, finding childcare, or providing their family a safe place to live.” To help keep cash in more troops’ pockets, Kendall announced he will reverse a decision to cut special duty pay for service members in especially difficult or important jobs. 

Air Force warns China on Taiwan: Kendall also said it would be an “enormous mistake” for China to invade Taiwan, just one day after President Joe Biden made headlines for saying the United States would defend the island in case of a Chinese attack. The Air Force secretary said China should use Russia’s failed plans for a quick takeover of Ukraine and the severe economic consequences Moscow is facing as a cautionary tale when considering military action against Taiwan. “The short war you imagine may not be the war you get,” he said. 

Sign up to get The Air & Space Brief every Tuesday from Jacqueline Feldscher, Defense One’s Senior National Security Correspondent. On this day in 1970, the Russian space agency landed the Luna 16 probe on the moon, which was the first to bring a sample of lunar soil back to Earth.

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