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Trump's 'space force' could offer opportunity for LI firms, officials say

Shawn Barnes, assistant vice commander of U.S. Air

Shawn Barnes, assistant vice commander of U.S. Air Force Space Command Credit: U.S. Air Force

Space is emerging as a potential battlefield and a potential opportunity for Long Island companies, an Air Force official is expected to tell a gathering of aerospace and defense contractors.

Retired Col. Shawn Barnes, assistant vice commander of U.S. Air Force Space Command, is scheduled to address a Tuesday meeting of ADDAPT, a trade organization that advocates for Long Island defense and aerospace companies.

The event, at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, comes in the wake of remarks by President Donald Trump that he is considering the creation of a “space force” on the same footing as the Army, Navy and Air Force. Trump, speaking at a San Diego Marine Corps base Tuesday, said that space is a “war-fighting domain.”

Trump’s fiscal 2019 budget calls for an 18.4 percent increase to $44.3 billion in procurement, research and development for space defense projects, according to an advance copy of a presentation prepared by Barnes.

The budget “marks a shift to a war-fighting posture,” according to Barnes.

Projects include: “space battle management,” “deep space advanced radar” and “next generation missile warning” systems, according to the presentation.

The new posture by Washington represents an opportunity for Long Island defense and aerospace companies, officials said.

“Long Island’s defense and aerospace firms can help America win the war in space by providing parts and supplies,” ADDAPT chairman Robert Botticelli said in a statement.

Also scheduled to appear at the event are Luciano Melluzzo, chief executive of Hauppauge-based Air Industries Group; Aaron Goodridge, chief executive of Huntington-based Now Electronics Inc., and Ira Bel, senior commercial specialist in the U.S. Embassy to Belgium, where he has dealt with NATO procurement.

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