Originally Posted by Hellmark
I've never quite got the naval basis for space travel. Space Travel done by the major governments is done by the airforce. While the concept of slow contained travel is more similar to that with the Navy, why would people with Airforce Backgrounds just start changing up things they're used to, and start using Naval idiosyncracies. To me, makes more sense that the Air Force-Space Force split to happen as the one group starts doing more long run missions verses the short term sorties, much like the AF split from the regular Army, as the AF began doing more and more non ground support duties. I mean, look at the insignia and ranks. US Air Force and Army are nearly identical, while the Navy is almost completely different.
Here's the route I'd expect to see:
- At first, Air Force is handling orbital scenarios. This is already happening today (X-37B). They are building expertise in the surface-to-orbit realm.
- As humans get more entrenched in space, with larger stations and missions that reach other planets in the solar system, the Navy's expertise starts to come into play more. The organization, becoming more underutilized on the planet's surface, either needs to get cut down to fund a "Space Force" or re-purposed into a "Space Force".
- At this point it can go either way, and the specific politics at the time can swing it one way or another. However, re-purposing the Navy rather than cutting it to grow the Air Force into a "Space Navy" seems to be more likely. You have a lot of interests who will fight and claw both directions though.
The end result of a re-purposed Navy and some shuffling though is that you get 3 branches with clear realms of expertise and jurisdiction that operate together at the large scale. Ranks may be changed for any or all of the branches as part of this shuffling too. But it's one of the least disruptive scenarios to the existing power structure, with a well organized result. At least in my opinion.
EDIT: Gah, fjtorres was thinking along similar lines as I was, and I missed the post.