I had a super-fun conversation on Relish This today with Bill Woolf, Founder and President of Space Force Association.
The SFA is helping to build awareness around the importance of having a strong, protective presence as more and more starts to happen outside of earth’s atmosphere.
Bill and I talked about ways to engage people early in their exploration into the realm of space, and how each phase of the audience engagement cycle is important if you want to take people from interested to fully engaged with your organization.
I particularly enjoyed our chat about developing forums or other avenues that foster community and conversations. By encouraging engagement and keeping an open dialogue, you can build relationships and better provide value, information and—most importantly—solutions to your stakeholders’ needs.
Hope you enjoy.
Listen to the podcast here
Bring Stakeholders In Early And Engage Them Ongoing with Bill Woolf From The Space Force Association
I had a super fun exploration with Bill Woolf, Founder and President of the Space Force Association. The SFA is helping to build awareness around the importance of having a strong, protective presence as we develop more and more technologies and activities based outside of the Earth’s atmosphere. Bill and I talked about ways to engage people early in their exploration into the realm of space and how each phase of the audience engagement cycle is important in transitioning people from interested to fully engaged with one’s organization. I think this was a fun episode. I hope you enjoy it. Here we go.
Bill, thank you so much for being on the show. I appreciate you joining me.
Thank you so much, Stu. I appreciate you having me on the show. I am looking forward to our discussion.
It is going to be fun. Tell us a little bit about what you have going on down there. It sounds like you moved to Montana from the Springs. I went to school in the Springs so I am familiar with that area but I have never had the opportunity to visit Montana. Where are you located now?
I am in Wolf Creek, Montana and that is because we bought property years ago when my wife and I were stationed up here at Malmstrom Air Force Base. We fell in love with Montana. I thought it was a pretty good time to come on up, start building out on the property, and spend some time in nature. Colorado Springs is where Space Force Association is headquartered. We are an international organization focused nationally on our membership development and I am happy to talk more about the Space Force Association and what we are doing.
I would love to learn more about how you are driving that membership piece?
I retired from the military a couple of years ago. My profession in the military was space operations. I started out as a missile launch officer and transitioned into space when they opened up the availability to transition into the space community. I transitioned into space probably around 2000 and spent the majority of my career working in space operations. I did not know when I was working on the mission that I was working on. At that time, it was a secure communication system. I did not know how the system was developed and how to evolve the system.
I did not understand the feedback mechanism by which an operator like myself would be able to provide back to the acquisition community and how to improve the system. When I retired, I thought, “This is going to be great working in the industry being able to talk back to the military and tell them all the good things that are going on,” but that is not the way things operate. I figured it would be great to stand up a membership-based professional organization focused on the space superiority mission. That was about a month before the Space Force Association was established in November of 2019.
Tell me a little bit more about the membership piece.
In order to get the narrative out, SFA is focused on educating folks about the space force and advocating for the national security space superiority mission. What we do is we host webinars and podcasts like what you are doing here, and interviews. We get the word out about what the Space Force is doing. If you go to USSFA.org, you will see videos that we have accomplished in the past with senior leaders from the Space Force so the American public can turn to our organization to get information about the space force, as opposed to turning towards Netflix. That is how we drive our membership base because people say, “I would like to learn more about what the Space Force is doing,” and that drives to our website. They can become a member there and get content specifically designed for our membership base and by our members.
Who are you trying to reach when you are building your membership?
It is anybody interested in the space domain. When I say the space domain, it is outer space. There is a lot going on in the civil sector with NASA, the commercial sector with industry, the academic sector researching all the different opportunities in space and the system inner space environment, and the individual interested in learning more about space. Our target audience is all those folks trying to cover the gamut. That translates into ensuring that our policymakers understand the criticality of the space domain and the Space Force mission.
That is what it comes down to. Unfortunately, this was turned into a political discussion under the previous administration of President Trump. This is not a political discussion. This is a national security discussion. What I have heard folks say is it is not bipartisan. It is partisan. It is not tailored to a specific political affiliation. It is a national security discussion. Those are our audience members. That is who we are tailoring to. It is that wide swath of folks who are interested in learning more about the Space Force.
I would say that audience is fairly diverse. I know that I have friends who are interested in space travel versus the tourism piece as well as science and exploration. The people are all over the board. Is there a way that you have narrowed down how you reach that audience or those different audiences?
Our narrative is a pretty simple one. If you look at what we need to accomplish the space superiority mission, you do not have to go that far to see how other domains accomplished domain superiority. When I say domain superiority, each military service or every branch of the service has a responsibility to protect and defend that domain. The Navy does the maritime domain. The Air Force does the air domain. The Army does the land domain.
It makes sense that you would have a Space Force focused on the space domain. The difference in that whole narrative is we have had to fight battles in each of those domains. We know what each of those other services does. You can see tanks. They have had to fight through wars. You have seen the capability and advantage that those technologies have provided for that service.
It is not a real hard stretch to say, “Do we need more tanks and new technology in the Army?” People say, “We need the newest technology for the Army.” The difference in the space domain is we have not had to fight through a space war to demonstrate the technology and the capabilities necessary for the space superiority mission. Every service says, “We need more aircraft, tanks, or battleships.” All of that may be true, but it is tough to visualize how many satellites you need and what expertise you need the operators to have to accomplish the space superiority mission.
We have not had to fight through a war in space, and hopefully, we never have to fight a war in space. I do not think anyone wants a war in space because I think it would be bad for a lot of folks. That being said, we need to have the experts, the capabilities, and the technological capacity to ensure that we can fight through a potential conflict that extends into space.
That is an interesting concept in terms of how to approach that. There are all these tangible infrastructures, equipment, personnel, and all these things in place that were very used for good or bad. We can wrap our arms around those assets where the space is science fiction. It is in the future. It is interesting to hear how all of this planning is going into conceiving what this thing may be as opposed to being able to wrap our arms around this very tangible construct.
Unfortunately, you have a Netflix series where Steve Carell is out there talking about his perception and interpretation of the story. Based on access, that is what people typically look at and say, “This must be what the Space Force is all about.” That is simply not true. You can draw parodies at any service. That is because you know what those other services are and that parody is exactly that whereas the Space Force folks go, “This must be exactly how the Space Force is as a service.” That is not true because we have not had that many movies about folks in the Space Force and all the work that they are required to do.
That is an interesting challenge to overcome. It comes down to a lot of education, messaging, and getting the word out about how you guys see this evolving. You have to combat something that does not even exist. It is an interesting place to be.
It is to everyone’s understanding. I am speaking on behalf of the Space Force Association about the organization’s interpretation of how we can help get the word out about it. I wanted to be clear on that.
Is that coming down to trying to build that user base and that membership? Speak to that membership and allow them to distribute information more fully and bring more people on board. Is that part of your mission?
Part of the mission is exactly that. If I look back at myself when I was a captain in the Air Force and look at the problems I faced, coming up in the Air Force and trying to get the technology necessary to do my job, what we are trying to do is bring the space warfighter into the discussion and elevate that conversation. In old military services, you have got this very understandable process where folks go and develop the technology. They train with that technology, learn from training best practices, and make recommendations to increase or revolve the technology.
Anytime you create an opportunity for a new discussion, people get excited about it. But if you don’t allow them to discuss it in an organized manner, they’ll just go look for it somewhere else.
That testing, training, and tactics development is very well understood in the other services. What we are trying to do at SFA is bring that conversation to light. How do these space warfighters do their job to ensure we, as the American people, believe and trust that they have everything they need to do their space superiority mission? That is the conversation we are trying to have. If you look across social media, there are a lot of unorganized attempts to address these concerns. What we are trying to do at SFA is organize the discussion, identify what the priorities are, and help elevate those to our decision-makers and lawmakers so that they can help advocate for a stronger space force to ensure our national security objectives can be met.
Are you lobbying as well? Is that part of the mission? Is there an interface with Congress and those types as well?
We are a 501(c)(3), a private nonprofit. We do not have any lobbying base. Our only objective is to provide documentation, education, and advocacy. We do not hire lobbying groups to go help. We continue to highlight those critical discussions that we know need to happen. We are not coming off of a period in our history where we have had to demonstrate a space superiority mission, defend and protect our assets in space, and have an all at war.
It is like what we did in the last World War where it was easily demonstrated that each domain was critical to our success as a nation. We want to avoid that, but we still have to have those tough conversations without having the demonstrated conflict in the space domain. We definitely do not want that. We do not lobby. We just educate and advocate.
You have been around for a few years. How has that been going? How’s your audience look?
It is growing.
How big is your audience at this point?
We have got over 1,000 individual members and twelve corporate members. Our corporate members help provide the resources necessary to continue the discussion. Individual membership is $35 a year. That is saying, “I am willing to give you $35, so I can be part of the conversation.” That is your buy-in. Our corporate members help with the resources necessary to have the events that we need to have. Sponsor podcasts, webinars, and in-person events.
When we come out of this COVID situation, we can get together in person again. We look forward to having those in-person events because nothing is better than face-to-face discussions and we can get to those difficult conversations that we need to have. We are constantly growing. We did help advocate for the standup of the Space Force caucus in the House and the Senate. We are very proud of that as an organization because it is about educating our lawmakers.
We are helping to provide that education through that caucus. We have had webinars with about every senior leader in the Space Force. We are continuing to engage with the Space Force. Even to the space warfighter, have a discussion with what you and I would consider this space warfighter and talk to them about what they are doing. Those are podcasts and webinars that we have got on our website.
We hosted a social for our corporate members, space operations command senior leadership, and US Air Force Academy senior leadership to talk about what needs to be done from an industry perspective to ensure the workforce that is necessary to help the space force mission is developed. If you look on LinkedIn, you can see plenty of job opportunities for professionals interested in getting into the space domain and helping out the Space Force.
Typically, they require five years of demonstrated expertise in that specific mission set and security clearance. I do not know about you, but I do not see a lot of college students coming out of college with an understanding of the space domain and security clearance. That is something we have to think about as a private nonprofit. How do we help develop that workforce?
We are looking at concepts to stand up a commercial civil space education and a space battle lab at the Air Force Academy so that we can see the newest technologies. It is tough to visualize so you have to be able to visualize this space environment to see what the potential impacts are to operations if a critical national security asset is lost. Those are things we are doing at the Space Force Association and then we will continue to have those conversations.
We stood up a site. It was in the Natural Resources Careers. The site is NRCareers.org a number of years ago. The mission there was to try to help educate students at a very young age and nurture that education through junior high school and into college around the idea and all the opportunities that exist within the Natural Resource Careers area. Forestry, data science, firefighting, etc., and trying to get people on board at a very early age around this idea that there was a viable pathway to a desirous career in natural resources.
I think that with Space Force, some of the challenges is making sure that people have security clearances. I am not an expert on security clearance by any stretch of the imagination, but certainly getting people educated. On that path and understanding that path at an early age could be advantageous. That might be an opportunity for you guys to start that conversation at a much earlier phase in people’s lifespan.
That is why we are honored to have on our advisory council Emily Calandrelli, who is a previous NASA engineer. She has got a website called The Space Gal. Her entire mission is to engage with grade-schoolers about the importance of STEM. She is all about getting the word out and starting that at such an early age. We are working with her to engage with folks to your point and connect the dots between grade-schoolers, all the way up through high school, college, and into the industry. There is an understood career path for future space professionals who may or may not want to join the Space Force, but they understand what the path is to get involved in the space domain, the space industry, or even in civil space if they are interested.
We are working with colleges to ensure that there are degrees out there that focus on Space Force Engineering requirements and engaging with those folks now for application. It is easy. If I am going to university and taking a class in engineering, it is nice to see the application as opposed to learning the curriculum and the technology. You say, “This is how you apply it in support of the Space Force mission.” Those are things we are working on. I am excited to have Emily as part of our team.
Trying to encourage kids to embrace STEM at an early age is a great goal in and of itself. As it applies to this bigger thinking future opportunity, that increases the power of that. It is cool to hear that you have someone on board who is helping out with that. Are there any other educational programs that you have implemented or are looking to implement?
We have got a PhD retired Air Force officer who is leading up our Space Education Committee, Dr. Michael Martindale. He, along with Dr. Mir Sadat, who is involved in National Space policy, both now are co-editors for the Space Force Journal, a peer-reviewed online journal that is published quarterly. That is the start of trying to get the thoughts out about what the critical components are to support the Space Force. Those discussions take place there. As you know, anytime you publish anything, you have got to back that up.
How did that person become an individual who was able to be published? You have got to gain the credibility and the credentials necessary to be the voice for that specific topic. What we are doing is we are engaging with the industry and the specific school districts. We are looking to engage with the universities and the junior ROTC programs to bring the space curriculum into those programs so that people can start to understand what it means. Anybody would become an aerospace engineer. What does it mean to become a space engineer? What type of expertise is the industry looking for in the civil and commercial sectors? Those are definitely things we want to continue to foster.
It feels like there are opportunities to create materials that draw people into the organization. During what we would call the attract phase, we are creating online resources and materials that help tell that story and paint that picture of what a career trajectory might look like. Support that at every phase of that career trajectory and get people, particularly as they get older and start to think, “What should my line of studies be and who should I be talking to?” Facilitating those conversations and enabling people to have access to that knowledge would be beneficial.
One of the things we are doing is we are engaging with some of the most junior Space Force second lieutenants who are focused on this space industry and have started their own group to talk about that exact thing that you are mentioning, which is the professional development. What are the critical issues that they need to be thinking about? That is something they are developing themselves and we are engaging with them to ensure that those conversations are taking place.
We will continue to develop that relationship, but it gets back to the point of, “If I want to get involved in any space career, whether it is military, civil, or commercial academia, how would I do that? What is my path look like?” To your point, you have to define that path and then iterate based on folks going down that path and saying, “This is where we need to improve. This is the type of information we need to increase so that we can be the space-faring nation that we already are.” We need to continue to evolve that discussion for folks.
There is certainly so much opportunity in space in general where people are starting to talk about travel, SpaceX, and all those amazing things that are going on that are bringing it into the private sector. It feels like there is a great opportunity for you to simply educate people about what it takes to have a career here and be able to peel off the right kinds of people for Space Force, even an entry. I know that there are tons of people who go into the military to get great training in a particular field that they know they want to come out and work in. Similarly, there is a growing amount of additional opportunity outside of the Space Force that people can tap into as part of a career path.
The Space Force has the opportunity to set up forts and outposts in space for commercial endeavors. These may just be concepts, but conversations about this need to be had as early as now.
Look at what Elon Musk has been able to do independently, I am sure, of the good opinion of others. He went out and said, “It can be done. The biggest expense in the launch is building the rocket.” Every time we build one and launch one, we throw it away. He said, “I think I can do that better if I bring that booster back to Earth and reuse it.” Everyone said, “You are crazy. That can’t be done.” He did it and it turned the entire game on its ear.
You have got the Inspiration4 mission and the first local civilians that are now going into orbit later on in 2022. That is a tremendous example of exactly what you said. The opportunities for folks to get involved in the space domain and go into space. Did you ever think in your lifetime that you would see folks riding on rockets, going into orbit, and spending days in orbit as a civilian? I never thought that was going to happen. To see it happening is phenomenal.
It certainly was science fiction in terms of what our expectations were. We are certainly seeing that as an emerging economic sector in terms of a pathway for careers as well as revenue and entertainment. It will be interesting to see how that continues to evolve and how we move civilians into space in terms of commercial endeavors. My guess is that those opportunities are certainly going to open up.
Inspiration4 is a perfect example of that where you have got civilians now going into space. We had a conversation not too long ago with the Director of Operations for the Space Force. At that time, it was Brigadier General DeAnna Burt, and now Major General Burt. She is the Combined Forces Space Component Commander. In an interview with her, we talked about the protection of those civilians in space and what that would look like. She brought up the analogy of the Lewis and Clark expedition. As Lewis and Clark moved West, they needed to set up outposts to protect our national interests as we moved West.
As we explored the West, that was completely unknown to us before then. She uses that analogy to talk about how the Space Force might have the opportunity to protect and set up ports and outposts in space to protect those commercial endeavors as people start mining these natural resources that are in space. How do you protect that to ensure we do not have piracy in space? These are concepts, of course, but the conversations need to be had so we can talk about that and build that future.
There is so much to discover there. I do not think that was a pun, but no pun intended. It is an amazing opportunity that we have that is going to require a lot of innovative thinking. There is so much technological advancement that is made through these types of organizations like Space Force would bring to the table. What do you see as the next phase as you build this membership and try and bring more and more people into the awareness of the Space Force and all the good things it will bring to everyone? What do you see you are evolving to?
You have got to set up the organizational structure to allow folks to get involved. What we have done is we have set up a West Coast, Mountain, Northeast, Southeast, and an international region. As folks sign up, they sign up based on where they are at. As soon as you start to identify where folks are at, they can get together and start having discussions amongst themselves to say, “This is what the West Coast is worried about. This is the capability and the benefit we bring to the discussion.” It is the same with the Mountain region.
Every region is going to have its expertise. What you are going to see is each state getting involved in the space domain. Even if you look at Starlink, another Elon Musk initiative, I can foresee each state now has the resources necessary to augment the military by providing capabilities for the state in terms of natural disasters and responses to weather that is happening. How do you have that communication flow? How much is that reliant on the space domain?
Those types of things I think that are going to take off is seeing that technology being used for each state’s and each governor’s purpose to ensure that their constituents in that respective state have the capabilities they need and the resources necessary to get the information and be able to transmit the information as necessary so that they can be aware of either natural disasters, weather patterns, cold fronts, drought conditions, fire patterns, or anything else.
It is about that information flow. I see that the next couple of steps are allowing the regions to evolve and develop and allowing the conversations to happen in respective states to talk about how each of us can contribute to the space discussion, which ultimately, as we have seen in the past, that has always come from the space or the military community. We are seeing that in reverse now a little bit where a civil and commercial industry is helping to inform the Space Force mission and the military mission. We are going to see that continue to evolve or that discussion can happen more transparently and more often.
It is interesting to see it come into shape. Even if you look at NASA and how much information and science they are putting behind climate change, for example, in terms of providing data and giving us insight into what is going on in our climate. I can completely see Starlink and its capabilities as bringing internet and that service to everyone on the planet. As those things expand, you have opportunities for measurement as well as for distribution of information. It is cool to see how people are thinking about the future of space travel, exploration, and utilization.
Each service that we talked about has its geographic area that is responsible. The Navy has all the oceans worldwide. The Army has got all the different landmasses that it needs to be prepared to protect and defend. The Air Force has this geographic limit to the skies up to now 70,000 feet. Once you get above 70,000 feet, it is the Space Force. How to pass the geosynchronous orbit? You can’t help but extrapolate what happens when we get to Mars. We are going to see in the next few years, maybe 10 or 20 years, Elon Musk is going to be on Mars or at least what he started, which is going to have folks on Mars. How do we move out to those realms and ensure that those assets and resources are protected?
Historically, we have always needed a police force of some sort. It is not outside of breaking the mold at all to think that we are going to need that as we move farther into space. Are there challenges you are seeing in terms of people’s perceptions of the Space Force versus how historically space has been treated as this non-combative zone? Are people latching onto that protection component to a great degree or have you gotten past that?
The full spectrum is being examined now. There was an event called Blue Marble Week that the Foundation for the Future puts on. This conversation came up. I led a talk called Evolving the Space War Fighter, and people took offense to that. They are like, “You have got a bunch of warmongers in space?” That was not the point at all. The point is we have to be able to develop the culture that these folks are essentially fighting through an adversarial approach to their domain. They have got the resources, information technology, authority, and autonomy to do that. Our alliance on space is hard to characterize holistically.
When they say, “We do not want any war in space,” nobody wants a war in space, but we have to be able to fight in and to the space domain in case there is. We have to be trained. We do not want another major theater war. The fact is we are training pilots, soldiers, and Mariners every day for that eventuality, but people do not blink an eye. They say, “That is that domain.” This domain is no different. We have to protect this domain like we do every other domain.
There are folks that are still reluctant to say space warfighter but that is going to be an aspect of this. We have to get to and work through it very quickly as a nation. The challenges are where the nation is not sure. You have got folks that are talking about the peaceful use of space. When 2007 happened and China launched a direct descent ASAT, that went out the door because now you have to say, “What happens if?” Do we have a resilient architecture to ensure that the space superiority mission can be accomplished?
We have been talking about this for a while. That was one of my frustrations in the Air Forces. I could not say that space is a warfighting domain. I had to say we have to protect and defend the space missions as necessary, but now folks are saying space is a warfighting domain. My recommendation is we embrace it and figure out exactly what that means so that folks can understand and they do not have to be fearful that we are going to have a war in space. Our intent, I believe, is to ensure we do not have a war in space.
As we become more reliant upon technology and exploration in that domain and space, the opportunities for misuse of that domain or aggressive activities within that domain become higher as well. Having that in terms of how we place ourselves into that framework to have a preventative force is something that obviously very much does need to be explored.
It is no different than the Navy moving its battleship into an area to prevent piracy or the Air Force setting up a no-fly zone to enforce international standards. We have to have the option as a country to enforce those national security objectives laid out by the secretary of defense and our president. We have to be prepared for those activities and be able to back that up with the action. We can’t talk about it. We have to say yes and we will execute a mission to ensure our access to space is secured.
You mentioned events a while back. How did you and your team handle events in 2021 given that in-person has been a bit more of a challenge?
It was a level setter. It provided opportunities for young and small organizations like the Space Force Association to have a voice because people were not traveling to events. What we did is we tried to do a virtual event every month. We set up interviews on a monthly basis and advertised that we had the event so that the folks were involved in the conversations and we recorded them. We posted that to a website so that folks can have access to it.
As we move out of this COVID situation and environment, we are looking to have a future event called The Space Warfighters Conference in the Denver area probably in October 2022. That announcement is being made now. Our plan is to host the event so that we can get together as a community and talk about the criticality of the space domain and how we can continue to support the Space Force as they evolve as a service and continue to develop the professionals that they need to do their space missions.
I love the commitment that you made to have events on a regular basis. Certainly, what you said is absolutely a valuable point to make that it was a game leveler when in-person events tend to be pretty expensive to put on. Smaller organizations have a tough time breaking into that space because of costs associated with a major event or not being able to put on one big enough to change people’s minds, bring people in, or do the things that need to be done.
Embracing the technology that we have had available in terms of online remote conferencing is a great way to put it. It is cool to see how you committed to that and made it happen. With your membership, were those the people who typically showed up for these virtual conferences or were you bringing in people from all over the place?
Talk to your local policymakers, lawmakers, and elected officials about Space Force. Ask them what they are doing in support of this.
We are bringing in folks from everywhere. We are an inclusive organization. We are not an exclusive organization. We like to cast the net and anyone who wants to take part in the conversation, we will invite them in. In this first year, we made a lot of the events free to folks to press and anyone else who wanted to sign up for the events. We did put up a donation page so if folks wanted to donate for our time, we would appreciate that. We provided that opportunity, but if they donated, come on in and be part of the conversation. What we did is engage with senior Space Force leaders, talk with them, and do a Q&A with them for about 20 or 30 minutes.
We would open it up for 15 to 20 minutes of Q&A from the audience. If you are a part of this discussion, you could type in and say, “I have got a question for this general or this chief master sergeant.” That is how we set that up, and it was great. We had a lot of members that would sign up, but honestly, based on our business model, what they would say is, “This is going to be recorded. Can I watch this later on?” The response is, “Yes, we will record it, and later on, you can watch it.”
It is getting the information out. That business model will change a little bit with the new website that we launched. We will have some content in front of the paywall and some content that is going to be members-only. That does motivate folks to become a member so they can get access to that content that is set aside for members only.
That is great to know that you have materials available for people both in front of and behind a paywall. A challenge that a lot of nonprofits run into is whether they put everything outside and fail to start to build that list or put everything behind a paywall. At which point, they are not able to attract. The way that we tend to look at that life cycle is being able to bring people in to attract them and create relationships with them. Relationship building, getting them to connect with you, and become a potential person with whom you are starting to establish that relationship, you are able to create conversations.
That is the next phase. A lot of times, that needs to happen with materials that are quasi behind a paywall. You have something that draws them to the site that is informational, free, does not require any transaction, and put something else behind an email grab. It is essentially trying to figure out ways to enable you to continue that conversation. In that connect phase, collect an email before you distribute something of value.
It is like, “You can sit in on this event for free. We want to get your email address in order to be able to ask questions about the event afterward.” Coming from a real position of altruism where you are essentially getting people into the fold but not asking them for a monetary transaction. You are giving value and they are getting value, etc. From there, continue to escalate those engagements to either turn them into donors, members, or volunteers if you guys have a volunteer component to your organization. The last phase is inspiring and getting them to be so thrilled with what you have provided that they want to share that with their communities to help spread that word and continue to be involved. It is cool to see that you are doing some of that.
Thanks for summarizing that so eloquently because that is exactly what we are trying to do. It is tough. Anytime you create an opportunity for a new discussion, people get excited about it. If you do not provide them the opportunity to have the discussion in an organized manner, they will go have the discussion somewhere else. What we are trying to do is create a forum for the discussion. We have got a section now on the website that is volunteer only. If you sign up to be a volunteer with SFA, you go into a volunteer group that is being managed by senior volunteers that help facilitate that discussion in the various regions. That is exactly the model we are trying to adopt.
Trying to get people to understand how they can become more involved is always a great thing to do. You have brought them in and done all this work to get them to engage in the first place and create opportunities to have those conversations. I love that you used the word forum because it does imply a two-way conversation. It is a relationship. It is not someone standing on a soapbox and yelling out there that Space Forces need or whatever it is that you are yelling. It is facilitating conversations and builds relationships.
That is a perfect point. This is not about me or my story. It is about how to get those space warfighters the tools necessary to do their job, which is going to bring civilians, academia, commercial industry, and policymakers into that discussion. We need to think about what the space warfighter needs. The only soapbox I will have is to provide a form by which the space warfighter can stand up and say, “This is the capabilities I need if you want me to do this space security mission that you have tasked me to do in support of our national security objectives.” That is the only message that Space Force Association is trying to get out, help foster, and facilitate that discussion.
You are certainly in a dynamic and growing industry. I have always been very interested in space, particularly the science of space. It is cool to hear how you are planning for the protection of all of those people and resources that are going to be participating in that journey.
I grew up on Star Wars, and so everyone can relate to what the opportunity and potential are. The question becomes, how do we get there from here? It brings a source of national pride. Not just from the US standpoint, but every nation around the globe talks about its space capabilities. You have got the UAE now that has got the Mars Rover in orbit. That is going to descend here and land on Mars. That is a huge sense of national pride.
Space brings that sense. How do we continue to foster that and get and keep people excited about that domain? When they look at the Space Force, they go, “Finally, there is an opportunity to be involved,” and now it allows the opportunity then to organize all of these different components in support of that national security strategy. We all have a part to play if we want to. That is a blast.
How do people find out more about the Space Force Association?
The SFA.org website, unfortunately, was taken. It is SurfersFederationAssociation.org. If you want to learn about surfing, you can go to SFA.org, but if you want to learn about the Space Force Association, you have to put the US in front of it. It is USSFA.org and folks can learn all about what we are doing at the Space Force Association. They can become a member for $35. Based on that membership, they can have access to the forms that we have created so that they can be part of that growing discussion in an organized way.
There are plenty of opportunities out there for social media and for folks who talk about, “This is what we want to do. This is what I think,” or Reddit channels where you can go in and pontificate about what it is you think. I think that is all great, but if you want to be part of an organized discussion, come on over to the Space Force Association and be part of it.
That is a great thing to have people do. In terms of additional action, I like to end all of my shows with an ask from my guests to give people something to do that can make the world a better place or further their education. What would you want people to do after reading this?
Do not use Netflix as a source of understanding the Space Force. Go to YouTube and type in Space Force Association as a starting point. There are a lot of other organizations out there that are helping to get the word out about what the Space Force is. I would ask folks to educate themselves on what the Space Force is. Do a little bit of research. Go check out Emily Calandrelli over at TheSpaceGal.com and see what she is doing to help get very young folks interested in STEM. Talk to your local elected officials and talk about the importance of the Space Force and ask them, “What are you doing in support of the Space Force? I am curious. I want to know.”
Where it matters is ensuring that our elected officials understand the criticality of the space domain and they understand the difference between Space Force versus NASA versus US Space Com. These are interesting topics that people tend to confuse and say, “Isn’t the Space Force NASA?” No, it is not at all. It is quite different. I would ask folks to become educated about what the Space Force is and how important the Space Force is to our national security.
It sounds like USSFA.org would be a great place for people to start. I appreciate you being on the show. I look forward to hearing more about how things evolve at NSFA.
Thank you so much, Stu. It is outlets like yours that allow folks to have these types of conversations. It is extremely important what you are doing. I appreciate your time and what you are doing in support of nonprofits. Thanks for your efforts. I am looking forward to having future conversations about the growth and the development of the Space Force Association.
It has been my pleasure. I will hope to talk to you soon.
Talk to you soon, Stu. Thank you so much.
There you have it, another great episode. Thanks for reading. If you would like to learn more about how to apply the audience engagement cycle to expand your organization’s mission, there are two things you can do. You can go to MissionUncomfortableBook.com to download a copy of my book. While you are there, you can get your purpose-driven marketing score to see where you can unearth some gold for your organization. If you would like to go back to previous episodes of the show or sign up to be a guest, go to RelishStudio.com/podcast. That is it for this episode. I will be back for another great episode.