Air University Press


Tough Tommy’s Space Force: General Thomas S. Power and the Air Force Space Program

  • Published
  • By Major Brent D. Ziarnick
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This study examines the career of Gen Thomas Sarsfield Power, third Commander-in-Chief of Strategic Air Command, and especially his forgotten contributions to the early Air Force space program. The author describes the modern search for an Alfred Thayer Mahan for space, or a space war-fighting icon for the Air Force. The study identifies three major contributions to the Air Force space program Power had, using I.B. Holley’s three step organizational model to develop superior weapons from new technology. First, the study describes Power’s role in establishing Gen Bernard Schriever’s Western Development Division as a true space organization rather than merely a ballistic missile organization. Second, it details Power’s efforts to develop concepts and early doctrine for military space activity under the Study Requirements (SR) system. Third, it catalogs Power’s efforts to transform Strategic Air Command into a strategic aerospace command by championing advanced nuclear space programs, including a manned strategic space force based on Project Orion, an Air Force program to develop a nuclear pulse rocket. The study reviews today’s Air Force space effort and assesses Power’s space ideas’ modern relevance. Thomas Power should be considered the Air Force’s space war-fighting icon, and the Air Force should reclaim Power’s ideas to rejuvenate its space program.


Author(s)Major Brent D. Ziarnick
AU Press CodeDP-34

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