On December 20, 2019, Donald Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act 2020, creating a sixth branch of the US military: the United States Space Force (USSF). The reactions were mixed. Supporters heralded the dawn of a brave new era of space power, while critics described this as an unnecessary and expensive campaign ploy that could provoke an arms race in space. Most of the time, people posted memes.
The growing presence of mankind in space – or at least in Earth orbit – has raised a number of potential problems and points of conflict. And the concept of protecting assets in space is nothing new. For decades, the US, Chinese and Russian armed forces have devoted significant resources to the defense of orbital assets and the militarization of space.
. The United States Space Force is not the first dedicated space force in the world.
Russia has had variations on a dedicated space force since the early 1990s, starting with the Russian space force. In 2015, Russia merged its space forces again with the Russian Air Force, creating the more coherent and integrated Russian aerospace forces. In 2015, China established its PLA Strategic Support Force, which is responsible for space, cyber and electronic warfare. While China and Russia had used military weapons for their space forces and made them largely independent before the establishment of the USSF, the United States did not lag behind. The USSF actually existed within the United States Air Force as Air Force Space Command since 1982.
2. The United States Space Force will not fight in space.
The USSF will not fight a fight in space – at least not for the time being and certainly not with powerful Space Marines and boots on the moon. Todd Harrison, who leads the aerospace security project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told NPR, “It’s not about putting members of the military into space, it has nothing to do with NASA, it’s not about that to protect the earth from asteroids or extraterrestrials. “The Space Force is more about protecting assets in orbit, such as: B. satellites that collect information, aid communication, detect missile launches and provide GPS targets for missiles.
3. The United States Space Force is led by the Chief of Space Operations.
The most senior officer in the Space Force is the Chief of Space Operations (CSO). In January 2020, General John W. Raymond was sworn in as the first CSO – and first official member – of the Space Force. The 16,000 people assigned to the Space Force following Raymond’s appointment were all members of the former Air Force Space Command. Despite Trump’s description of space as a “war zone” and his call for “American dominance in space,” General Raymond was quick to point out that the goal of the Space Force is to keep conflict from expanding into space, while adding that it was ready to fight if necessary.
4. The first doctrine of the United States Space Force attempts to define “space power”.
In June 2020, the USSF published its first Space Forces Doctrine, entitled Space travel [PDF]. It’s a bit of a surreal read with overtones of Starship Troopers (Book or film, make your choice) and subsections that cover everything from “War’s Enduring Nature” to “Space Warfighters” to “Art of Space Warfare”. And while the doctrine assures the reader that the US “wants a peaceful, safe, stable, and accessible space domain,” it does not shy away from the fact that the Space Force is a military branch. For example: “Dominance of space makes the military space community more lethal by increasing the speed and focus of military space power.”
5. The United States Space Force Seal looks like the Starfleet logo on Star Trek.
When the new Space Force seal was revealed, social media had a lot of fun pointing out how similar it was to that of Star TrekStarfleet Command. While they are very similar, the Space Force seal is based on the existing Air Force Space Command logo from 1982. The seal’s Delta Wing design has been used by space agencies since 1961, five years before the first episode from Star Trek Premiered.
6. The motto of the United States Space Force is always.
The Space Force’s motto: alwaysmeans “always on top”. According to the Space Force’s official Twitter account, the motto is “represented [Space Force’s] Role in establishing, maintaining, and safeguarding U.S. freedom to operate in space. “To some people this sounds gallant, aspiring, and reassuring. But it is also possible to give the Space Force motto an Orwellian twist if you feel cynical about the ever-increasing number of surveillance satellites. In a more sinister light, “Always Above” has a kind of “we’re always watching you” vibe.
7. The United States Space Force’s initial budget is just over $ 15 billion.
In February 2020, the Department of the Air Force published a budget proposal of $ 169 billion for 2021. For the first time, the budget included funds for the young Space Force, which had requested $ 15.4 billion. The Space Force budget included funding for missile warning satellites, next-generation GPS, and the development of a new tactical communications system. She also applied for funding for the National Security Space Launch (NSSL) program to bring private companies like SpaceX by Elon Musk and Blue Origin by Jeff Bezos to US military and spy satellites in orbit.