September 7, 2015: Strategy Page
A year after China did so in August Russia has announced the formation of an Aerospace Force by taking existing air force units, air-defense (against aircraft or missiles) units and various “space forces” that, until 2011, were united as the Space Force. The new organization is based on the idea that there should be no distinction between lower air space and orbital space. If it flies, it now belongs to the Aerospace Force. One exception is the ICBM missile forces, which will remain, as they have for decades, as the separate “Strategic Rocket Forces.” The only practical reason for the Russian Aerospace Force is that it saves money by eliminating some headquarters and duplicated support services.
In mid-2014 the Chinese military announced it was organizing a fifth service (in addition to army, navy, air force, strategic weapons force), the Aerospace Force. This one will concentrate on operations in space and is more like the pre-2011 Russian Space Force. The Chinese Aerospace Force controls satellites, launchers and ground based units that can jam or otherwise electronically interfere with enemy satellites and space vehicles. The United States had had discussions about forming an Aerospace Force but the Army, Navy and Air Force are very reluctant to give up any of these space oriented capabilities to what would be a new service. Currently the U.S. Air Force considers itself the aerospace force and few consider it an issue worth arguing about anymore.