U.S.A.F. Lt. Gen. Kwast: China Moving Fast on Near-Space Operations

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The Story:

U.S. Air Force lieutenant general Steve Kwast told CNBC that in his “best military judgement China is on a 10-year journey to operationalize space. We’re on a 50-year journey.” Kwast expects a new era in space to dawn with a “Kitty Hawk”-like moment, and warns that America’s edge in space operations is gradually fading.

Why It Matters:

Kwast believes that the next frontier for military operations is near-space, specifically between the earth and the moon.

  • His view is that the U.S. should make efforts towards a bringing brilliant minds together to address the issue, similar to the Manhattan Project.

  • That project culminated in the creation of the world’s first nuclear weapons capable of theretofore unthinkable scales of destruction.

The Nuts and Bolts:

The regulatory environment for entrepreneurs looking at the next frontier has become unwieldy. Kwast gives an analogy of requiring to report carry-on items a year in advance on a flight from D.C. to LA.

  • Kwast’s comments hint at a space race by the world’s military forces.

  • His reference to the Manhattan Project implies military dominance by the country that wins that space race.

  • That country could well be China.

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