United States Space Force

Summary

United States Space Force
Seal of the United States Space Force.svg
Founded20 December 2019; 11 months ago (2019-12-20) (as an independent service)
1 September 1982 (38 years, 3 months as Air Force Space Command)[1]
Country United States
TypeSpace force
RoleSpace security
Combat power projection
Space mobility and logistics
Information mobility
Space domain awareness
Size2,501 space professionals[2][3]
13,590 assigned airmen[2][4]
77 spacecraft[5]
Part ofSeal of the United States Department of the Air Force.svg Department of the Air Force
HeadquartersThe Pentagon
Arlington County, Virginia, U.S.[1]
Motto(s)Semper Supra (Always above)[6]
March"The U.S. Space Force March" (interim)[7]
Anniversaries20 December
Websitewww.spaceforce.mil
Commanders
Commander-in-Chief President Donald Trump
Secretary of Defense Christopher C. Miller (Acting)
Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett
Chief of Space Operations Gen John W. Raymond
Vice Chief of Space Operations Gen David D. Thompson
Senior Enlisted Advisor of the Space Force CMSgt Roger A. Towberman
Insignia
FlagFlag of the United States Space Force.svg
Space Force DeltaLogo of the United States Space Force.png
Service patchPatch of the Office of the Chief of Space Operations.png

The United States Space Force (USSF) is the space service branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, and is one of the eight U.S. uniformed services. Initially formed as Air Force Space Command on 1 September 1982, the Space Force was established as an independent military branch on 20 December 2019, with the signing of the United States Space Force Act, part of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2020.

The U.S. Space Force is organized as a military service branch within the Department of the Air Force, one of the three military departments within the Department of Defense. The Space Force, through the Department of the Air Force, is headed by the secretary of the Air Force, who reports to the secretary of defense, and is appointed by the president with Senate confirmation.[8] In terms of personnel count, it is the smallest U.S. armed service within the U.S. Department of Defense.

The military head of the Space Force is the chief of space operations (CSO). The chief of space operations is also 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. Space Force operating forces are assigned to the unified combatant commands, predominantly to United States Space Command.

The Space Force consists of 2,501 active duty space professionals and operates 77 spacecraft, including the Boeing X-37B and the Global Positioning System. Space Force servicemembers are referred to as space professionals until a final title is decided.

Mission

Congressional mandate

The United States Space Force Act, which was part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, established Space Force's functions as to:[9]

  1. Provide freedom of operation for the United States in, from, and to space
  2. Provide prompt and sustained space operations

It also enshrined in legislation the Space Force's stated duties as to:

  1. Protect the interests of the United States in space
  2. Deter aggression in, from, and to space
  3. Conduct space operations

Cornerstone responsibilities and core competencies

The United States Space Force released its first doctrine document, Spacepower, on 10 August 2020.

The Space Force defines its cornerstone responsibilities to:

  1. Preserve freedom of action
  2. Enable joint lethality and effectiveness
  3. Provide independent options

It goes on to describe the five core competencies of the Space Force, which are space security, combat power projection, space mobility and logistics, information mobility, and space domain awareness.[10]

Space security

Space security establishes and promotes stable conditions for the safe and secure access to space activities for civil, commercial, intelligence community, and U.S. multinational partners. Space combat forces are used to deter an adversary from interfering with the U.S. and allied partners, however, space security can also entail sharing information and domain awareness, developing self-protection capabilities, coordinating anomaly resolution support, maneuver de-conflication, electromagnetic spectrum monitoring, launch vehicle ride sharing, protecting space lines of communication, and building the capacity of U.S. allies through combined training and exercises.[11]

Combat power projection

Combat Power Projection integrates defensive and offensive operations to maintain a desired level of freedom of action for the United States and its allies relative to an adversary. Combat Power Projection in concert with other competencies enhances freedom of action by deterring aggression or compelling an adversary to change behavior. Combat power projection can be divided into defensive operations and offensive operations.[11]

Defensive operations protect and preserve friendly space capabilities before, during, or after an attack. Defensive operations are further divided into active and passive actions. Active defensive operations encompass actions to destroy, nullify, or reduce the effectiveness of threats holding U.S. space capabilities at risk. Passive defense attempts to improve survivability through system and architectural attributes. Passive defense measures include spacecraft maneuverability; self-protection; disaggregation; orbit diversification; large-scale proliferation; communication, transmission, and emissions security; camouflage, concealment, and deception; and system hardening across all three segments of the space architecture.[11]

Offensive operations target an adversary’s space and counterspace capabilities, reducing the effectiveness and lethality of adversary forces across all domains. Offensive operations seek to gain the initiative and may neutralize adversary space missions before they can be employed against friendly forces. Offensive operations are not limited to adversary counterspace systems and can also target the full spectrum of an adversary’s ability to exploit the space domain, which includes targets in the terrestrial and cyber domains. Offensive space operations are essential to achieving space superiority.[11]

Space mobility and logistics

Atlas V launch of AEHF-6, which was the first space launch for the U.S. Space Force.

Space Mobility and Logistics (SML) enables movement and support of military equipment and personnel in the space domain, from the space domain back to Earth, and to the space domain. Space mobility and logistics starts with the ability to launch military equipment into the proper orbit in a safe, secure, and reliable manner. During conflict, space launch must be dynamic and responsive, providing the ability to augment or reconstitute capability gaps from multiple locations. Orbital sustainment allows military space forces to replenish consumables and expendables on spacecraft that cannot be recovered back to Earth. Orbital sustainment also enables spacecraft inspection, anomaly resolution, hardware maintenance, and technology upgrades. Orbital recovery allows for the recovery of personnel or military equipment from the space domain. This includes objects such as reusable spacecraft or launch boosters.[11]

Information mobility

Information Mobility provides timely, rapid and reliable collection and transportation of data across the range of military operations in support of tactical, operational, and strategic decision making. Information Mobility includes point-to-point communications; broadcast communications; long-haul communication links; protected strategic communications; machine-to-machine interfaces; position, navigation and timing; nuclear detonation detection; missile warning; and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.[11]

Space domain awareness

Space Domain Awareness (SDA) encompasses the effective identification, characterization and understanding of any factor associated with the space domain that could affect space operations and thereby impact the security, safety, economy, or environment of the United States. SDA leverages the unique subset of intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, environmental monitoring, and data sharing arrangements that provide a timely depiction of all factors and actors — including friendly, adversary, and third party — impacting domain operations. SDA extends across the physical, network, and cognitive dimensions of space operations.[11]

Operating in the physical environment of space requires a timely awareness of space weather, lighting conditions, and gravitational topology. In addition to these natural phenomenon, military space forces must also maintain awareness of spacecraft orbiting in the domain. This includes active spacecraft and debris. Moreover, when tracking active spacecraft, SDA captures more than orbital trajectory. Complete SDA also includes mission related details such as missions, intentions, system capabilities, patterns-of-life, and the status of consumables and expendables.[11]

Awareness of the network dimension must encompass the links and nodes that enable orbital flight and the movement of information in, from, and to the domain. This includes the frequency, location, access, and power of electromagnetic spectrum links along with the physical and logical pathways required to transmit information across space architectures. SDA provides insight into key redundancies and chokepoints in the network dimension.[11]

Awareness in the space domain’s cognitive dimension encompasses the actors who operate or rely on space systems, along with their decision-making processes, biases, cultural values, and psychological tendencies. Importantly, military space forces must also maintain an awareness of their own decision processes and any associated personal or institutional biases. SDA of the cognitive dimension allows commanders to detect deceit, determine adversary intentions, and act within an adversary’s decision cycle.[11]

Organization

Organization of the United States Space Force within the Department of Defense

The United States Space Force falls under the Department of the Air Force, under civilian leadership of the secretary of the Air Force (SecAF) and under secretary of the Air Force. The most senior Space Force officer is the chief of space operations (CSO), unless a Space Force general is serving as the chairman or vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The secretary of the Air Force and chief of space operations are responsible for organizing, recruiting, training, and equipping the Space Force so that it is ready for operation under the commanders of the unified combat commands.

The Space Force field organizations consist of three different echelons of command: field commands, deltas or garrisons, and squadrons. Field commands align with specific mission focuses and are led by a lieutenant general or major general. Deltas and garrisons are organized around a specific function, such as operations or training, in the case of a delta, or installation support, in the case of a garrison, and are led by a colonel. Squadrons are focused on specific tactics and are led by a lieutenant colonel.[12]

Structure

Office of the Chief of Space Operations

The Office of the Chief of Space Operations (OCSO), also known as the Space Staff or Headquarters, United States Space Force, serves as service's highest staff and headquarters element, is located at the Pentagon. The Office of the Chief of Space Operations is overseen by the chief of space operations (CSO), who holds the rank of general and is responsible for organizing, training, and equipping the Space Force and serves as the principle advisor to the secretary of the Air Force on the Space Force. In addition to their service role, they serve on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, providing advice to the president of the United States and secretary of defense[13] The vice chief of space operations (VCSO), also holding the rank of general, serves as the deputy to the chief of space operations and is responsible for overseeing, integrating space policy and guidance, and coordinating space-related activities for the U.S. Space Force and Department of the Air Force.[14] The senior enlisted advisor of the Space Force (SEASF) is the most senior enlisted member of the Space Force, unless an enlisted space professional is serving as the senior enlisted advisor to the chairman. The SEASF holds the rank of chief master sergeant and provides direction for and represents the interests of the Space Force's enlisted corps, while also acting as a personal advisor to the chief of space operations and secretary of the Air Force on issues relating to the welfare, readiness, morale, utilization, and development of members of the Space Force.[15]

Support to the Office of the Chief of Space Operations is managed by the director of staff, who holds the rank of lieutenant general and is responsible for the staff action, protocol, information technology and administration, resources, and total force integration groups. They are also responsible for synchronizing policy, plans, positions, procedures, and cross functional issues for the U.S. Space Force headquarters staff.[16] Parallel to the director of staff are three deputy chiefs of space operations. The deputy chief of space operations for personnel and logistics, also known as the chief human capital officer, leads the S1/4 staff directorate and is a civilian member of the senior executive service. The deputy chief of space operations for operations, cyber, and nuclear, also known as the chief operations officer, leads the S2/3/6/10 staff directorate and is a lieutenant general, responsible for Space Force operations, intelligence, sustainment, cyber, and nuclear operations support.[17] The deputy chief of space operations for strategy, plans, programs, requirements, and analysis, also known as the chief strategy and resourcing officer, leads the S5/8/9 staff directorate and is a lieutenant general, responsible for Space Force strategies, requirements, and budget.[18] The chief technology and innovation officer is a civilian member of the senior executive service[19]

Title Office Current holder
Service leadership
Flag of the Chief of Space Operations.svg Chief of space operations CSO Gen John W. Raymond
Flag of the Vice Chief of Space Operations.svg Vice chief of space operations VCSO Gen David D. Thompson
Flag of the Senior Enlisted Advisor of the Space Force.svg Senior enlisted advisor of the Space Force SEASF CMSgt Roger A. Towberman
Office of the Chief of Space Operations
Flag of a United States Space Force lieutenant general.svg Director of staff Lt Gen Nina M. Armagno
Flag of the United States Senior Executive Service.svg Deputy chief of space operations for personnel and logistics / chief human capital officer S1/4 Patricia Mulcahy
Flag of a United States Space Force lieutenant general.svg Deputy chief of space operations for operations, cyber, and nuclear / chief operations officer S2/3/6/10 Lt Gen B. Chance Saltzman
Flag of a United States Air Force major general.svg Director of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance S2 Maj Gen Leah G. Lauderback
Flag of a United States Space Force lieutenant general.svg Deputy chief of space operations for strategy, plans, programs, requirements, and analysis / chief strategy and resourcing officer S5/8/9 Lt Gen William J. Liquori Jr.
Flag of a United States Air Force major general.svg Chief technology and innovation officer Maj Gen Kimberly A. Crider (acting)

Space Operations Command

Space Operations Command deltas and garrisons.

Space Operations Command (SpOC) is the United States Space Force's first field command and commanded by a lieutenant general. Space Operations Command was established on 21 October 2020 by redesignating Headquarters United States Space Force, which itself was redesignated from Headquarters Air Force Space Command on 20 December 2019 when the Space Force was established. Currently the Space Force's sole field command, Space Operations Command is primarily responsible for space operations, cyber operations, intelligence operations, and the administration of Space Operations Command bases and serves as the Space Force service component to United States Space Command. It is responsible for 9 space mission deltas, two garrisons, and two wings.[20]

Space Operations Command West is responsible for executing space warfighting operations and is led by a major general who is also the deputy commander of Space Operations Command and the commander of U.S. Space Command's Combined Force Space Component Command, which SpOC West serves as the headquarters for. Space Operations Command West was redesignated from the original Space Operations Command upon the current Space Operations Command's standup on 21 October 2020. This first SpOC was itself redesignated from Air Force Space Command's Fourteenth Air Force on 20 December 2020.[21]

Space Operations Command is also temporarily responsible for a number of units that are intended to become part of different field commands upon their activation. Space Training and Readiness Delta Provisional is intended to form the core of Space Training and Readiness Command when the field command is established in 2021. The 30th Space Wing and 45th Space Wing, responsible for launch and range operations, are intended to join with the Space and Missile Systems Center to form Space Systems Command when it is established.[22]

Name Function Headquarters Commander
Emblem of the Space Operations Command.png Space Operations Command Space, cyber, and intelligence operations, and combat support Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado Lt Gen Stephen N. Whiting
Space Operations Command West Space warfighting operations Vandenberg Air Force Base, California Maj Gen DeAnna M. Burt
Space mission deltas
Emblem of STAR Delta (P).svg Space Training and Readiness Delta Provisional Space training and readiness Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado Col Peter J. Flores
Emblem of Space Delta 2.png Space Delta 2 Space domain awareness Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado Col Matthew S. Cantore
Emblem of Space Delta 3.png Space Delta 3 Space electronic warfare Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado Col John G. Thien
Emblem of Space Delta 4.png Space Delta 4 Missile warning Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado Col Richard L. Bourquin
Emblem of Space Delta 5.png Space Delta 5 Command and control Vandenberg Air Force Base, California Col Monique C. DeLauter
Emblem of Space Delta 6.png Space Delta 6 Cyberspace Operations Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado Col Roy V. Rockwell
Emblem of Space Delta 7.png Space Delta 7 Intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado Col Chandler P. Atwood
Emblem of Space Delta 8.png Space Delta 8 Satellite communication and navigation warfare Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado Col Matthew E. Holston
Emblem of Space Delta 9.png Space Delta 9 Orbital warfare Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado Col Casey M. Beard
Garrisons and wings
Emblem of the Peterson-Schriever Garrison.svg Peterson-Schriever Garrison Mission and medical support Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado Col James E. Smith
Emblem of the Buckley Garrison.svg Buckley Garrison Mission and medical support Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado Col Devin R. Pepper
30th Space Wing.png 30th Space Wing Space launch, Western Range administration, and mission and medical support Vandenberg Air Force Base, California Col Anthony J. Mastalir
45th Space Wing.png 45th Space Wing Space launch, Eastern Range administration, and mission and medical support Patrick Air Force Base, Florida Brig Gen Douglas A. Schiess

Space and Missile Systems Center

The Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) is the United States Space Force's development and acquisitions center and commanded by a lieutenant general. The Space and Missile Systems Center is the oldest military space organization in the United States Armed Forces, being established on 1 July 1954 as Air Research and Development Command's Western Development Division under General Bernard Schriever. It went through a number of iterations, being redesignated as the Air Force Ballistic Missile Division in 1957, Air Force Systems Command's Space Systems Division in 1961, the Space and Missile Systems Organization in 1967, the Space Division in 1979, regaining the name of the Space Systems Division in 1990, before assuming its current designation of the Space and Missile Systems Center under Air Force Materiel Command in 1992, before being transferred from Air Force Materiel Command to Air Force Space Command in 2001. The Space and Missile Systems Center is responsible for 6 directorates, 1 division, and 1 air base group.[23]

The Space and Missile Systems center is intended to become the core of Space Systems Command, a field commanded intended to combine the Space Force's acquisitions, engineering, research and development, and launch activities under one organization.[24]

Name Function Headquarters Commander
Space and Missile Systems Center.png Space and Missile Systems Center Research and development, acquisitions, and engineering Los Angeles Air Force Base, California Lt Gen John F. Thompson
Directorates and division
Advanced Systems and Development Directorate.png Advanced Systems and Development Directorate Advanced systems development Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico
Global Positioning Systems Directorate.png Global Positioning Systems Directorate Global Positioning System acquisition, development, launch, and sustainment Los Angeles Air Force Base, California
Launch Enterprise Directorate.png Launch Enterprise Directorate Space launch vehicle acquisition and operations Los Angeles Air Force Base, California
Military Satellite Communications Systems Directorate.png Military Satellite Communications Directorate Military satellite communications acquisition, development, launch, and sustainment Los Angeles Air Force Base, California
Range and Network Systems Division.png Range and Network Systems Division Launch and test range system and Air Force Satellite Control Network modernization, sustainment, development and support Los Angeles Air Force Base, California
Remote Sensing Systems Directorate.png Remote Sensing Systems Division Overhead persistent infrared and weather satellite acquisition, development, launch, and sustainment Los Angeles Air Force Base, California
Space Logistics Directorate shield.jpg Space Logistics Directorate Space logistics, maintenance, supply, sustaining engineering Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado
Space Superiority Systems Directorate.png Space Superiority Systems Directorate Develop, deliver, and sustain space control capabilities Los Angeles Air Force Base, California
Air base groups
61st Air Base Group.png 61st Air Base Group Mission and medical support Los Angeles Air Force Base, California Col Becky M. Beers

Locations

As of 29 November 2020 former Air Force Space Command bases have not been officially transferred to the United States Space Force from the United States Air Force or been renamed from Air Force Base to Space Force Base, however the Space Force has taken over operational control of these bases through its garrisons.[25] The Space Force operates six primary bases, seven smaller stations, and one air base in Greenland.[26] It also has ten units based outside the contiguous United States in Greenland, the United Kingdom, Ascension Island, Diego Garcia atoll, Alaska, Hawaii, and Guam.[27]

Installation Major functions Location Garrison Field command
The Pentagon Space Force headquarters Arlington County, Virginia Washington Headquarters Services OCSO
Space Force bases
Buckley Air Force Base Missile warning Aurora, Colorado Buckley Garrison SpOC
Los Angeles Air Force Base Acquisitions, engineering, and research and development El Segundo, California 61st Air Base Group SMC
Patrick Air Force Base Space launch and Eastern Range management Brevard County, Florida 45th Space Wing SpOC
Peterson Air Force Base North American Aerospace Defense Command, U.S. Space Command, U.S. Northern Command, and Space Operations Command headquarters, space domain awareness, space electronic warfare, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance Colorado Springs, Colorado Peterson-Schriever Garrison SpOC
Schriever Air Force Base Joint Task Force-Space Defense and National Space Defense Center headquarters, orbital warfare, satellite communications and navigation warfare, and cyberspace operations Falcon, Colorado Peterson-Schriever Garrison SpOC
Vandenberg Air Force Base Combined Force Space Component Command and Combined Space Operations Center headquarters, space launch and Western Range management, command and control Santa Barbara County, California 30th Space Wing SpOC
Space Force stations
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space launch and Eastern Range management Cape Canaveral, Florida 45th Space Wing SpOC
Cape Cod Air Force Station Missile warning Barnstable County, Massachusetts Buckley Garrison SpOC
Cavalier Air Force Station Missile warning Cavalier, North Dakota Buckley Garrison SpOC
Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station Missile Warning Center headquarters, North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command alternate command center Colorado Springs, Colorado Peterson-Schriever Garrison SpOC
Clear Air Force Station Missile warning Clear, Alaska Buckley Garrison SpOC
Kaena Point Air Force Station Satellite control network Kaena Point, Honolulu County, Hawaii Peterson-Schriever Garrison SpOC
New Boston Air Force Station Satellite control network New Boston, New Hampshire Peterson-Schriever Garrison SpOC
Thule Air Base Missile warning Qaanaaq, Greenland Peterson-Schriever Garrison SpOC

Partnerships with other organizations

United States Air Force

Service mark of the United States Air Force.

The United States Space Force and United States Air Force are both coequal components of the United States Department of the Air Force, a civilian-led military department under the Department of Defense. The Space Force's direct antecedent, Air Force Space Command, was an Air Force major command and Air Force space professionals worked throughout Air Education and Training Command, Air Combat Command, Air Force Materiel Command and the rest of the Air Force's major commands. Prior to the creation of Air Force Space Command in 1982, Air Force space assets were spread across Air Force Systems Command for launch and acquisitions, Aerospace Defense Command (until it's inactivation in 1979), and Strategic Air Command and the first predecessor of the Space Force, the Western Development Division, was established in 1954 under the Air Force's Air Research and Development Command.[28]

The Space Force derivates most of its support personnel from the Air Force, being provided civil engineers, security forces, logistics, contracting, finance, and medical personnel who are then assigned to Space Force garrisons. The Space Force and Air Force also share the same service secretary and military department, along with common commissioning sources and training programs such as the United States Air Force Academy, Air University, and Air Force Basic Military Training. [29]

National Reconnaissance Office

Seal of the National Reconnaissance Office.

The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) is a Department of Defense agency and a member of the United States Intelligence Community, responsible for designing, building, launching, and maintaining intelligence satellites. The National Reconnaissance Office was established in 1961 as a joint agency between the United States Department of Defense and Central Intelligence Agency, being declassified in 1992.[30] The Space Force performs NRO space launches and consists of 40% of the agency's personnel.[31][32][33]

A number of proposals have been put forward, including by the Air Force Association and retired Air Force Lieutenant General David Deptula, to merge the National Reconnaissance Office into the United States Space Force, transforming it into a Space Force Intelligence, Reconnaissance, and Surveillance Command and consolidating the entire national security space apparatus in the Space Force.[34][35][36]

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Logo of NASA.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an independent agency of the United States government responsible for civil spaceflight. NASA and the Space Force's predecessors in the Air Force have a long-standing cooperative relationship, with the Space Force supporting NASA launches out of Kennedy Space Center, to include range support and rescue operations from Task Force 45. [37] NASA and the Space Force also partner on matters such as space domain awareness and planetary defense operations.[38]

Space Force members can also be NASA astronauts, with Colonel Michael S. Hopkins, the commander of SpaceX Crew-1, scheduled to commission into the Space Force from the International Space Station.[39][40]

Personnel

On 20 December 2019, all members of the former Air Force Space Command were assigned to the United States Space Force. Members of the United States Army, and United States Navy, United States Marine Corps, and United States Air Force are also be detailed to the Space Force.[41] There are currently 16,000 individuals assigned to the Space Force.[4] Air Force space airmen began transferring to the Space Force in FY 2020, while Army space soldiers and Navy space sailors and space marines will begin transferring in FY 2022.[42]

The Space Force is creating career tracks for Space Force Core Organic specialties, including space-specific operations, intelligence, engineering, acquisitions, science, and cyber/communications. Support specialties, such as legal, medical, civil engineering, logistics, financial management, security forces, and public affairs will be detailed by the Air Force to support the Space Force.[42]

Pending the release of an official title akin to soldier or marine, members of the Space Force are known as space professionals.[43]

Rank structure

Officer corps

The United States Air Force Academy commissioned the first 86 Space Force officers on 18 April 2020 from the members of the class of 2020.

The Space Force inherited its current officer rank structure from the Air Force, and was set to roll out its new officer rank structure in August 2020, however, the inclusion of a late amendment that would require the Space Force to adopt the Navy's rank structure was introduced in the House of Representative's version of the National Defense Authorization Act, resulting in the Space Force delaying the release of its final officer rank structure until the National Defense Authorization Act is reconciled and passed.[44]

The United States Air Force Academy is considered the premier commissioning source for Space Force officers through its Space Force detachment and Cadet Space Operations Squadron.

On 18 April 2020, the United States Air Force Academy graduated the Space Force's first eighty-six new second lieutenants. [45] Space Fore officers are commissioned through the United States Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps programs at civilian universities, and Air Force Officer Training School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.[46] The United States Air Force Academy is considered the premier commissioning route for Space Force officers, having a Space Force detachment which provide Space Force training, immersion, and mentorship to cadets, the Cadet Space Operations Squadron flying FalconSAT-series of satellite since 1997, and its Department of Astronautics being the oldest in the world, established in 1958.[47][48][49][50]

Space Force officers attend Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base for professional military education, which has a number of space-specific programs including the Space Gray Rhinos program at Squadron Officer School for captains, the Schriever Space Scholars program at Air Command and Staff College for majors, and the West Space Seminar at Air War College for lieutenant colonels and colonels. [51][52] A small number of Space Force and Air Force officers also attend the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies.[53]

Space Force officers specialties include:[54][55][56]

  • 13S - Space operations officer
    • 13SA - Orbital warfare officer
    • 13SB - Space electronic warfare officer
    • 13SD - Space battle management officer
    • 13SE - Space access and sustainment officer
  • 14N - Intelligence officer
  • 17 - Cyberspace warfare operations officer
    • 17C - Cyberspace warfare operations commander
    • 17D - Warfighter communications operations officer
    • 17S - Cyberspace effects operations officer
  • 62 - Developmental engineer officer
    • 62E - Developmental engineer
    • 62S - Materiel leader
  • 63 - Acquisition manager officer
    • 63A - Acquisitions manager
    • 63G - Senior materiel leader-lower echelon
    • 63S - Materiel leader
Uniformed Services pay grade Officer candidate O-1 O-2 O-3 O-4 O-5 O-6 O-7 O-8 O-9 O-10 Special grade
NATO code OF(D) OF-1 OF-2 OF-3 OF-4 OF-5 OF-6 OF-7 OF-8 OF-9 OF-10
Insignia Various US-O1 insignia.svg US-O2 insignia.svg US-O3 insignia.svg US-O4 insignia.svg US-O5 insignia.svg US-O6 insignia.svg US-O7 insignia.svg US-O8 insignia.svg US-O9 insignia.svg US-O10 insignia.svg Not established
Service dress uniform Various US Air Force O1 shoulderboard.svg US Air Force O2 shoulderboard.svg US Air Force O3 shoulderboard.svg US Air Force O4 shoulderboard.svg US Air Force O5 shoulderboard.svg US Air Force O6 shoulderboard.svg US Air Force O7 shoulderboard.svg US Air Force O8 shoulderboard.svg US Air Force O9 shoulderboard.svg US Air Force O10 shoulderboard.svg
OCP uniform Various USSF OCP O1.jpg USSF OCP O2.jpg USSF OCP O3.jpg USSF OCP O4.jpg USSF OCP O5.jpg USSF OCP O6.jpg USSF OCP O7.jpg USSF OCP O8.jpg USSF OCP O9.jpg USSF OCP O10.jpg
Title Cadet /
Officer trainee 
Second lieutenant  First lieutenant  Captain  Major  Lieutenant colonel  Colonel  Brigadier general  Major general  Lieutenant general  General
Abbreviation Cdt / OT 2d Lt 1st Lt Capt Maj Lt Col Col Brig Gen Maj Gen Lt Gen Gen

Enlisted corps

Vice chief of space operations General David D. Thompson swears in the first four enlisted Space Force recruits at the Baltimore Military Entrance Processing Station, Maryland on 20 October 2020.
Chief of space operations General John W. Raymond and senior enlisted advisor of the Space Force Chief Master Sergeant Roger A. Towberman perform a transfer ceremony for 300 Space Force personnel at the Pentagon on 15 September 2020.

The Space Force inherited its current enlisted rank structure from the Air Force, and was set to roll out its new enlisted rank structure in August 2020, however, the inclusion of a late amendment that would require the Space Force to adopt the Navy's rank structure was introduced in the House of Representative's version of the National Defense Authorization Act, resulting in the Space Force delaying the release of its enlisted rank structure until the National Defense Authorization Act is reconciled and passed.[57]

The Space Force swore in its first new enlisted recruits on 20 October 2020. The Space Force performs its basic training through Air Force Basic Military Training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, with the inclusion of space-specific curriculum, while still training alongside Air Force recurits.[58] The Space Force's Forrest L. Vosler Non-Comissioned Officer Academy, operation under Space Training and Readiness Delta Provisional, at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, provides enlisted professional military education for Space Force technical sergeants. The Space Force is in the process of standing up a separate enlisted professional military education program and enlisted professional military education center with curriculum focused on Space Force doctrine, value, and competences at the specific grades of E-4, technical sergeant, senior master sergeant, and chief master sergeant.[59]

Space Force enlisted specialties include:[60][61][62]

  • 1C6 - Space systems operations specialist
  • 1N - Intelligence specialist
    • 1N0 - All source intelligence analyst
    • 1N1 - Geospatial intelligence analyst
    • 1N2 - Signals intelligence analyst
    • 1N4 - Fusion analyst
    • 1N8 - Targeting analyst
  • 3D - Cyberspace support specialist
    • 3D0 - Cyberspace operations specialist
    • 3D1 - Cyberspace support specialist
Uniformed Services pay grade E-1 E-2 E-3 E-4 E-5 E-6 E-7 E-8 E-9
NATO code OR-1 OR-2 OR-3 OR-4 OR-5 OR-6 OR-7 OR-8 OR-9
Service dress uniform E2 USAF AM.svg E3 USAF AM1.svg E4 USAF SAM.svg E5 USAF SSGT.svg E6 USAF TSGT.svg E7a USAF MSGT.svg E7b USAF 1STSGT1.svg E8a USAF SMSGT.svg E8b USAF 1STSGT2.svg E9a USAF CMSGT.svg E9b USAF 1STSGT3.svg E9c USAF CCMS.svg USSF SEASF.svg USAF SEAC.svg
OCP uniform USSF OCP E2 temp.jpg USSF OCP E3 temp.jpg USSF OCP E4 temp.jpg USSF OCP E5 temp.jpg USSF OCP E6 temp.jpg USSF OCP E7a temp.jpg USSF OCP E7b temp.jpg USSF OCP E8a temp.jpg USSF OCP E8b temp.jpg USSF OCP E9a temp.jpg USSF OCP E9b temp.jpg USSF OCP E9c temp.jpg USSF OCP E9d temp.png
Title Airman basic  Airman  Airman first class  Senior airman  Staff sergeant  Technical sergeant  Master sergeant  First sergeant  Senior master sergeant  First sergeant  Chief master sergeant  First sergeant  Command chief master sergeant  Senior enlisted advisor of the Space Force  Senior enlisted advisor to the chairman
Abbreviation AB Amn A1C SrA SSgt TSgt MSgt[note 1] SMSgt[note 1] CMSgt[note 1] SEASF SEAC
  1. ^ a b c The Space Force does not have separate first sergeant ranks. These special ranks are instead positional billets denoted by a diamond within the upper field, and are senior to their non-diamond counterparts.

Uniforms

Chief of space operations General John W. Raymond wearing the service dress uniform during the U.S. Space Command change of command ceremony.
Chief of space operations General John W. Raymond debuting the Space Force's configuration of the OCP uniform.

While the Space Force is currently in the process of designing and testing its own unique mess dress, service dress, and physical training uniforms. In the interim period, the Space Force has adopted the Air Force's set of mess dress, service dress, and physical training uniforms. [63]

The mess dress uniform is worn during official formal evening functions and state occasions and consists of a blue mess dress coat, blue trousers with a 7/8th inch satin blue trouser stripe, white dress shirt, with a satin blue cummerbund and bow tie. Rank is worn on blue shoulder boards for officers and on the sleeves for enlisted. Officers wear a 1/2 inch silver braid on the sleeve, while general officers wear a 3/4 silver braid. Miniature medals and badges are worn in mess dress.[64]

The service dress uniform, also known as the class A uniform, consists of the blue service dress coat worn over the service blues uniform. The service dress coat is worn with a silver name tag, ribbons, silver U.S. lapel insignia, and full sized badges. Metal officer rank is worn on the epaulets, while enlisted rank is worn on the sleeve. Officers wear 1/2 inch blue braid on the sleeve, while general officers wear 1 1/2 inch blue braid. The service blue uniform, also known as the class B uniform, consists of either a long-sleeve or short-sleeve light blue shirt, blue trousers, with a blue belt with silver buckle and a blue tie may be worn. The service blue uniform is worn with a plastic blue nametag and badges. Officer rank is worn on blue shoulder mark, while enlisted rank is sewn on the sleeve. Authorized outerwear includes the lightweight blue jacket, topcoat, and all-weather coat. Authorized headwear includes the service cap with a silver Great Seal of the United States and flight cap. Field grade and general officer service caps include additional clouds and darts on the cap visor, while the chief of space operations is authorized a ring of clouds and darts around the service cap.[65]

Space Force cadets at the Air Force Academy wear the same uniform as Air Force cadets, however, in their distinctive blue and white parade dress uniforms they wear a platinum sash in place of the gold sash worn by Air Force cadets.[66]

The United States Space Force has adopted the Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP) uniform as its combat uniform, sharing it with the United States Army and United States Air Force. The Space Force is distinguished by the use of embroidered space blue thread for name tape, service tape, rank insignia (except for major and second lieutenant, which use spice brown), and badges, and wears a full color United States flag on the left sleeve. The U.S. Space Force, field command, delta, school or other headquarters patch is worn on the left sleeve, while the unit of assignment patch is worn on the right sleeve. The Extended Cold Weather Clothing System (ECWCS) is authorized with wear with the OCP uniform. The Space Force has also authorized the wear of the legacy digital tigerstripe pattern Airman Battle Uniform (ABU) until its phase out on 1 April 2021.[67][68] The service's announcement that it was adopting the OCP uniform generated some criticism on social media, with some uses questioning if the Space Force would be deployed to the forest moon of Endor from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, however the Space Force stated that adopting the OCP uniform will save the costs of designing and producing an entirely new one, and that Space Force troops deploy on the ground alongside Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force personnel.[69]

Badges, awards, and decorations

The basic (top), senior (middle), and command (bottom) ratings of the Space Operations Badge.

Members of the United States Space Force wear occupational badges on their uniforms to indicate job specialty. They may also wear previously earned badges, occupational badges, or badges awarded by sister services.[70] Space Force occupational badges are the space operations badge, for 13S space operations officers and 1C6 enlisted space systems specialists, the intelligence badge, for 14N intelligence officers and 1N enlisted intelligence specialists, the cyberspace operator badge for 17X cyberspace operations officers and the cyberspace support badge for enlisted 3DX cyberspace support specialists, and the acquisition and financial management badge for 62X developmental engineer officers and 63X acquisitions manager officers.[71][72]

As part of the United States Department of the Air Force, the United States Space Force and United States Air Force share the same awards and decorations or same variations of awards and decorations.[73]

Equipment

As of mid-2019, as regards actual satellites in orbit being operated and controlled by the then-AFSPC, the Air Force reported that there were four Advanced Extremely High Frequency communications; one ATRR; five Defense Meteorological Satellite Program; six Defense Satellite Communications System satellites; five Defense Support Program; 31 Global Positioning System satellites; four GSSAP; five Milstar communications; seven Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS, infra-red, launch warning); two SBSS; and seven WGS.[74] The Boeing X-37B and its low-profile missions also represent a significant U.S. orbital asset. The fifth and latest X-37 mission, USA-277, was launched on 7 September 2017, and was the longest X-37 mission to date,[75] landing on 27 October 2019 after 780 days in orbit.[76][77]

Budget

The proposed Fiscal Year 2021 budget for the Space Force would transfer over $15 billion from the Air Force.[78]

United States Space Force Budget[78] 2020 2021 (proposed)
Operation & Maintenance $40,000,000 $2,608,400,000
Procurement - $2,446,100,000
Research, Development, Test & Evaluation - $10,327,600,000
Total $40,000,000 $15,382,100,000

The 2021 Department of Defense Budget requests $1.6 billion for three National Security Space Launch vehicles.[79] $1.05 billion of this budget will fund three launches: AFSPC-36, AFSPC-87 and AFSPC-112.[80] The United States Space Force is reported to be working closely with commercial leaders in the space domain such as Elon Musk (SpaceX) and Jeff Bezos (Blue Origin) to determine their capability in serving the mission. According to Lt. General David Thompson, the United States Space Force is already in contracting talks with Blue Origin.[81] The budget includes $560 million to upgrade the launch systems of Blue Origin, Northrop Grumman, and United Launch Alliance.[80] Further, the 2021 DOD budget requests $1.8 billion for two Lockheed Martin Global Positioning System (GPS) III systems and other projects to fulfill the Space Superiority Strategy.[79] The GPS III system, first launched on 23 December 2018, is the latest GPS system from contractor Lockheed Martin; the GPS III system has improved anti-jamming capabilities and is three times more accurate than current GPS systems.[82] The FY 2021 Budget also includes $2.5 billion allocated to the Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared (Next-Gen OPIR) satellite constellation as part of a DOD wide increase on missile defense capacity to defend from threats such as North Korea.[78] The Next-Gen OPIR constellation will provide the U.S. military with a resilient worldwide missile warning system.[83] This new generation of satellites will work in tandem with the existing Space Based Overhead Persistent Infrared System (SBIRS); production of the SBIRS will conclude in 2022 and the first Next-Gen OPIR satellite is expected to be delivered in 2025.[80]

History

Early military space program (1945–1982)

Military space activities began immediately after the conclusion of World War II, with General of the Army Hap Arnold, commanding general of the United States Army Air Forces, becoming an early visionary for the potential of military space operations. In 1946 General Arnold directed Theodore von Kármán of the RAND Corporation to determine the feasibility of a satellite for strategic reconnaissance. In 1946 this study identified nearly all current space mission areas, including intelligence, weather forecasting, communications, and navigation.[84]

General Bernard Schriever was the father of the military space program.

After the United States Air Force gained its independence in 1947, General Bernard Schriever was appointed to head the Western Development Division, made responsible for the Air Force's space and intercontinental ballistic missile programs. It was responsible for developing the Advanced Reconnaissance System, which would have been the Air Force's first satellite constellation. On 4 October 1957 the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, which was the world's first satellite. This event transformed space development overnight, helping the national security establishment understand the importance of the space domain.[84]

Early military space development was marked by strong interservice rivalry, with each developing their own proposals for satellites and launch vehicles. The first American satellite was the Army Ballistic Missile Agency's Explorer 1 which was launched on the Naval Research Laboratory's Vanguard rocket. The Air Force still continued military space development amidst this competition from the Army and Navy. In 1958 the newly formed Advanced Research Projects Agency assumed control over all military space programs, but this centralization was short lived and gave control back to the services in September 1959. The creation of NASA in 1958 significantly hampered the Army and Navy's space programs, absorbing the Army's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Army Ballistic Missile Agency and Navy's Project Vanguard and Minitrack satellite tracking network, but only absorbed the Air Force's Man in Space Soonest program, merging it with Project Mercury.[84]

Development of Air Force space systems continued with the Missile Defense Alarm System (MIDAS) and Strategic Air Command's SAMOS reconnaissance satellites, as well as the Thor, Atlas, and Titan space launch vehicles. The Air Force and Central Intelligence Agency also jointly developed and operated the Corona reconnaissance satellite. The development of reconnaissance satellites became a national priority after an American U-2 reconnaissance plane was shot down over the Soviet Union, making aerial reconnaissance impractical. In 1961 the National Reconnaissance Office was created as a joint Air Force–CIA activity to manage all spy satellites.[84]

"Space science, like nuclear science and all technology, has no conscience of its own. Whether it will become a force for good or ill depends on man. And only if the United-States occupies a position of preeminence can we help decide whether this new ocean will be a sea of peace or a new terrifying theatre of war. I do not say that we should or will go unprotected against the hostile misuse of space, any more than we go unprotected against the hostile use of land or sea."

John F. Kennedy, speech at Rice University, 12 September 1962[85]

In 1961, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara designated the Air Force as the lead military service for space, further relegating the space programs of the Army and Navy. The relationship between the Air Force space program and NASA continued to grow closer, with agreements being reached to share information and personnel. The Air Force also began development on the crewed Boeing X-20 Dyna-Soar spaceplane and Manned Orbiting Laboratory, both of which were later canceled as their functions could be carried out by uncrewed systems. General Schriever's advocacy for military space led to the 1961 establishment of Air Force Systems Command (AFSC), which included a dedicated Space Systems Directorate to centralize all space development, separating it from the missile program. Prior to Air Force Systems Command's creation, spacecraft design, acquisitions, and launch was split between Air Material Command and Air Force Research and Development Command, however, the new command centralized all of these activities.[84]

The Air Force provided space support to forces during the Vietnam War, with a focus on providing space–based weather and communications capabilities. In the 1970s development began on the Global Positioning System, Defense Satellite Communications System, and Defense Support Program missile warning satellites. The Space Shuttle also began development, with significant Air Force input. For much of the 1960s and 1970s, Air Force space operations were centralized in Aerospace Defense Command, but it was disestablished in 1980, transferring its space surveillance and missile warning systems to Strategic Air Command. In 1979, Air Force doctrine recognized space as a mission area for the first time, and led to the creation of a space division on the Air Staff. Air Force Systems Command also established a deputy commander for space operations.[84]

Air Force Space Command (1982–2019)

Towards the 1980s, the Air Force began to realize that it was insufficiently organized for military space operations, with assets and responsibilities split across Strategic Air Command, Air Force Systems Command, the Aerospace Defense Center, and the Air Staff. In 1979, the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board concluded that "currently, the Air Force is inadequately organized for operational exploitation of space and has placed insufficient emphasis on inclusion of space systems in an integrated force study." In 1981, the Air Force took a measure to address this discontinuity, establishing the consolidated space operations center in Colorado Springs and began discussing the creation of a space command to centralize its space activities. On 1 September 1982, Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) was created as an Air Force major command.[84] Air Force Space Command centralized all space operations, including missile warning, launch operations, satellite control, space domain awareness, and satellite communications.[86]

Air Force Space Command was absolutely critical during the Persian Gulf War, which would later be described as the first space war by Air Force Chief of Staff General Merrill McPeak. Specifically, its GPS support enabled the left hook across the Iraq desert.[86] Defense Meteorological Support Program satellites provided a significant amount of weather data and over 90% of communications were provided by satellite systems. The Defense Support Program early-warning satellites provided indications of SCUD launches to fielded forces.[84]

In the 1990s, AFSPC led the development of the MILSTAR communications satellite constellation and completed the GPS constellation.[84] In accordance with the recommendations of the 2001 Space Commission, the Space and Missile Systems Center was transferred from Air Force Material Command to Air Force Space Command, becoming its integral research and acquisitions arm. In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, Air Force Space Command provided space support as part of the global war on terrorism.[87]

Independence (2019–present)

U.S. Space Force logo used from 20 December 2019 on public social media accounts[88][89]

The idea of an independent service for U.S. military space operations had been under consideration since 2000. The Commission to Assess United States National Security Space Management and Organization, chaired by former secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld and composed of a number of military, space, and intelligence professionals, was set up to examine the national security space organization of the United States. The commission itself concluded that the military needed to develop space–specific doctrine, operations concepts, and capabilities – including the development and deployment of space–based weapons. The Space Commission came to the conclusion that the Air Force treated space operations as a secondary mission in comparison to air operations, and recommended the creation of a space corps within the Department of the Air Force, and in the long term, creating a military department for space.[90]

In 2017, a bipartisan proposal to create the U.S. Space Corps, as a military service within the Department of the Air Force, was put forward by representatives Mike Rogers and Jim Cooper. This was done specifically due to the realization that the Air Force's space mission had become a secondary concern in contrast with the air dominance mission.[91] The proposal passed in the House of Representatives, but was cut from the final bill in negotiations with the U.S. Senate.[92]

In a June 2018 meeting of the National Space Council, President Donald Trump directed the Department of Defense to begin the necessary processes to establish the U.S. Space Force as a branch of the Armed Forces.[93] On 19 February 2019, Space Policy Directive–4 was signed, initially calling for the placement of the U.S. Space Force within the Department of the Air Force, before later creating and transferring the service to the Department of the Space Force.[94] Legislative provisions for the Space Force were included in the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, which was signed into law on 20 December 2019. The Space Force was established as the sixth armed service branch, with Air Force General John "Jay" Raymond, the commander of Air Force Space Command and U.S. Space Command, becoming the first chief of space operations.[95] On 14 January 2020, Raymond was officially sworn in as chief of space operations by Vice President Mike Pence.[96] Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett approved the transfer of Fourteenth Air Force to the Space Force and re-designated as Space Operations Command, with the transfer effective 20 December 2019.[97] The former commander of Fourteenth Air Force, Maj Gen John E. Shaw, was appointed commander of Space Operations Command while also serving as commander of U.S. Space Command's Combined Force Space Component Command.[98]

About 16,000 Air Force active duty and civilian personnel were initially assigned to the Space Force, establishing independent procedures for manning equipment, training personnel, and creating uniforms, ranks, logo, patch, awards, and official song.[99] 1,840 billets from 23 units of the Air Force were being transferred to the Space Force in 2020.[100][101] On 18 April 2020, 86 graduates of the United States Air Force Academy became the first group of commissioned second lieutenants in the U.S. Space Force.[102][103] The Space Force flag debuted at signing ceremony for the 2020 Armed Forces Day proclamation on 15 May 2020 and is based on the service's official seal.[104]

President Donald Trump signs the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, which established the Space Force, in Hangar 6 at Joint Base Andrews, 20 December 2019. General John "Jay" Raymond, the first Chief of Space Operations, stands on the left.

The Space Force's first space launch as an independent service was on 26 March 2020 with the AEHF-6 communications satellite launching from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Former Air Force Space Command installations are expected to have their name changed to reflect their new service.[105]

In June 2020, Air Force Colonel Michael S. Hopkins was nominated to be the first astronaut in the Space Force.[106] In July 2020, Air Force Major Generals Nina M. Armagno,[107] William J. Liquori Jr.,[108] B. Chance Saltzman[109] and Stephen N. Whiting[110] were nominated to be the first lieutenant generals in the Space Force.[111] In August 2020, Air Force Lieutenant General David D. Thompson was nominated to be Vice Chief of Space Operations, the second general in the Space Force.[112][113] At the same time, 639 colonels, lieutenant colonels and majors were nominated for transfer to the Space Force.[114][115]

In September 2020, the Space Force and NASA signed a memorandum of understanding formally acknowledging the joint role of both agencies. This new memorandum replaced a similar document signed in 2006 between NASA and Air Force Space Command.[116][117] On October 20, 2020, the first seven space professionals enlisted directly into the Space Force.[118]

See also

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External links

  • Official website Edit this at Wikidata
  • "US Space Force Recruitment Video". US Space Force via Storyful. 6 May 2020.
  • 20170622 Markup of HR2810 FY18NDAA — Strategic Forces (ID: 106134) U.S. House Armed Services Committee on YouTube
  • H.R.2810 — National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 — House version, United States Congress
  • S.1519 — National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 — Senate version, United States Congress
  • Final Report on Organizational and Management Structure for the National Security Space Components of the Department of Defense