With A Signature Trump Brings Space Force Into Being
When President Donald Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law Friday, he also created the newest military service and the first new service since the US Air Force came into being in 1947.
With his signature, the US Air Force Space Command was designated the United States Space Force, a step that White House officials are touting as a historic step.
âThe law states that Air Force Space Command will be re-designated the United States Space Force, that will happen immediately,â Gen. John Raymond, the commander of US Space Command and Air Force Space Command, told reporters at the Pentagon Friday.
Raymond said that the 16,000 active duty airmen and civilians currently in the Air Force Space Command will be assigned to the new United States Space Force, though officials made clear those personnel will not actually become members of the Space Force and will remain in the Air Force for the time being.
The Cool Stuff Isn’t Even Legal
As it turns out, even in a world of constantly looming mutually assured destruction, there are some things that folks still get nervous enough about to try to prevent, things like bombs dropping out of the inky depths of space.
And that’s how we got 1967’s Outer Space Treaty, an agreement with signatories from every country with the walking-around money to potentially wind up with their own space program. While it doesn’t outright ban the presence of the military in space, it does lay down some important rules: All involved parties agreed not to put weapons of mass destruction into orbit, on the Moon, or on any other celestial bodies. Claiming the Moon and other celestial bodies for any given nation is also frowned upon. According to The Space Review, Article IX of the treaty prohibits “unreasonable interference and harmful contamination in the outer space,” i.e. the kind created by having awesome gravity-free dogfights 300 miles above the Earth’s surface.
All of this begs the question, with these protections in place, what’s the point of having a Space Force?
United States Space Force
|United States Space Force|
|“The U.S. Space Force March”|
The United States Space Force is the space service branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, one of the eight U.S. uniformed services, and the world’s first and currently only independent space force. Along with its sister-branch, the U.S. Air Force, the Space Force is part of the Department of the Air Force, one of the three civilian-led military departments within the Department of Defense. The Space Force, through the Department of the Air Force, is overseen by the secretary of the Air Force, a civilian political appointee who reports to the secretary of defense, and is appointed by the president with Senate confirmation. The military head of the Space Force is the chief of space operations who is the most senior Space Force officer unless a Space Force officer is serving as either the chairman or vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The chief of space operations exercises supervision over the Space Force’s units and serves as one of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
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Recent History Of The Us Military Presence In Space
The U.S. Space Force is a direct descendant of the Air Force Space Command established in 1982. That command sought to expand Americas advantage in space during the Cold War, primarily through the launch of advanced military satellites. Space Command played a crucial role in establishing the Global Positioning System , which improved American ability to quickly detect missile launches and monitor military movements around the world. Following the Cold War, improved satellite technology contributed to the decisive coalition victory in the Gulf War by providing instantaneous surveillance of enemy forces as well as enabling precision missile and air strikes. Space Command further aided U.S. military efforts in the Balkans as well as the War on Terror, aiding in locating enemy leaders and fugitives. Space gained even more attention as a potential conflict domain as states like China and Russia developed weapons capable of destroying American satellites and began deploying more of their own space assets.
Why Do We Need This
Officials in the Trump administration have made the argument that space is already a “war-fighting domain” and that other global powers like Russia and China are already treating it as such. That phrase echoes what some in the Air Force had been saying for a number of years.
The stakes are high. Much of our 21st century economy and lifestyle — from bank transactions and weather forecasting to television service and GPS — depends on satellites functioning round the clock and without interruption. The military depends on them too. But space right now is a bit like the Wild West, with a wide-ranging mix of government and commercial satellites, all of them sitting ducks.
We’ve even seen an instance of target practice: In 2007, China shot down one of its own satellites — mission accomplished in its own right — and littered orbit with potentially destructive space debris. Many saw that 2007 operation as a veiled display of military power.
“Our adversaries are moving deliberately and quickly in order to reduce our advantage ,” Raymond said at a conference in September 2020. “I’m not confident that we can achieve victory, or even compete, in a modern conflict without space power.”
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What Exactly Is Space Force
Space Force was established on Dec. 20, 2019, with the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act providing $40 million to get things going, and it’s being put into operation — or “stood up,” in Pentagon-speak — over 18 months, which takes us to mid-2021. Its responsibilities, according to the new branch’s fact sheet, include “developing military space professionals, acquiring military space systems maturing the military doctrine for space power.”
The logo for the US Space Force, as seen on the side of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket on March 25.
That doctrine, titled Spacepower, was published in June 2020 and highlights the value of “the control and exploitation of the space domain” for surveillance, accomplishing strategic and military objectives and to preserve “the prosperity and security of the United States.”
“Personnel conducting space operations, engineering, acquisitions, intelligence, and cyber comprise the space warfighting community and must therefore master the art and science of warfare — they are the Nation’s space warfighters,” the document reads.
“This first year was about inventing the force. This next year … we’re really focusing on integrating that force across our joint partners,” Raymond said.
Why Do We Need It
The White House points to galactic threats from US adversaries, particularly Russia and China, which could develop weapons to jam, blind or destroy satellites that are crucial to communications systems. In 2007, China destroyed one of its own satellites, in a test of a weapon that could be used to target others. Russia has also tested a missile that could be used to track and destroy satellites. Not everyone is convinced, however, with critics saying threats on earth are much more real than the prospect of wars in space. Maybe, just maybe, we should make sure our people are not dying because they lack health insurance before we start spending billions to militarize outer space, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders said on Twitter.
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Trump Presented With Space Force Flag By Military Officials In Oval Office
The Space Force became the sixth branch of the U.S. military in December.
Trump unveils Space Force flag
Senior military officials introduced the United States Space Force flag — which represents the new sixth branch of the U.S. military — to President Donald Trump and its new home in the Oval Office on Friday afternoon.
Chief of Space Operations Gen. John Raymond and senior enlisted adviser Chief Master Sgt. Roger Towberman officially unveiled the flag to the president, who called the ceremony “a very special moment.”
It is the first new military flag to be unveiled in 72 years and will remain in the Oval Office alongside the flags of the other five branches, officials said.
“Space is going to be the future, both in terms of defense and offense and so many other things,” Trump said. “And already, from what I’m hearing and based on reports, we’re now the leader in space.”
Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and special assistant to the president Keith Kellogg, were also present at the event which doubled as a signing ceremony for the 2020 Armed Forces Day proclamation.
Trump mentioned that the U.S. was building a “super-duper missile” that’s “17 times faster than what we have right now.”
Nestled within the Air Force, the newly minted branch requested $15.4 billion in its fiscal 2021 budget.
Trump Signs Directive To Create A Military Space Force
ByMike Wall21 February 2019
The Space Force just took a big step from sci-fi-sounding dream toward reality.
President Donald Trump signed Space Policy Directive-4 today , ordering the Pentagon to establish the Space Force as the sixth branch of the United States military, to go along with the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.
But the Space Force still has a big hoop to jump through: Congress must approve the creation of any new military branch.
The main goal of the Space Force is to secure and extend American dominance of the space domain, Trump and other White House officials have said. Such reasoning has drawn opposition from various quarters.
“President Trump has called space a new warfighting domain. Space is important to militaries, thats true, but it is only a small piece of what happens up there,” Laura Grego, a senior scientist in the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Global Security program, said in a statement today.
“Eighty percent of the nearly 2,000 satellites are civilian, providing critical communications and economic services for humanitys well-being,” Grego added. “We need to take care of space. If concentrating authority in a space force creates an incentive for nations to build space weapons that increase the likelihood of conflict, it would be a profoundly bad idea.”
The Space Force would initially reside within the Department of the Air Force, much as the Marine Corps is part of the U.S. Navy.
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The Ndaa Went Well Beyond Creating The Space Force
Because the annual NDAA is considered a must pass bill, it has become a key landing spot for other legislative priorities besides military spending. Chief among them this year was giving all 2.1 million federal employees paid family leave for the first time.
The United States is the only industrialized nation in the world without paid family leave for its workers, but thanks to the NDAA the federal government, the largest employer in the US, will now offer 12 weeks paid leave to any employee for the birth or adoption of a child. Previously, employees were allowed unpaid time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act, which Congress passed in 1993.
While limited to federal employees and not including time off to care for sick family members, lawmakers hope the bill will influence private employers to match the paid family leave policy, as explained by Voxs Li Zhou:
Among other provisions, the NDAA includes language that Congress unequivocally supports the residents of Hong Kong who have been engaged in months-long protests against the Chinese government. The bill drew criticism from left-leaning and libertarian lawmakers alike for not including provisions that would have restrained Trumps ability to start a war with Iran, or enacted a ban on support for Saudi Arabias air war on Yemen. Additionally, the bill allows Trump to use military funds to build a wall along the US-Mexico border.