The United States Space Force is one of the most infamous arms of the military. Less than three years old, the military arm is already causing a significant stir - many don't know what it is, while others believe that it is a colossal waste of time. However, space enthusiasts understand that this arm of the military has some promise going forward.
The Trump administration inaugurated the Space Force in December 2019. The agency now has its own seal, with a log and all the works. Officials get uniforms, with a blue "U.S. Space Force" place on its chest and a full-color flag branded on the left arm. Led by Gen. John "Jay: Raymond, the Space Force hopes to be just what its name says - the part of the United States army that focuses on efforts above the Earth's surface.
Space Force Outlasts Initial Scorn
When Trump began talking about the Space Force, it was like something out of a sitcom. A Netflix show about the space command even came out, starring Steve Carrell. The Twitter trolls were in full effect, and the Space Force became nothing but a joke even before it started.
Still, beyond the jokes and doubts, the Space Force has become serious business. It might not mean "sky soldiers:" walking around in funny suits and holding laser blasters, but the Space Force is serious business nonetheless.
The Space Force was eventually inaugurated in December 2019, following the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. The agency got a $40 million budget to get things going initially, and it now has an official standing with the Pentagon.
In fact, the Space Force has a doctrine - titled Spacepower. The document was published last June, and it highlights the mission to ensure "the control and exploitation of the space domain" for surveillance. The agency also looks to accomplish several military objectives while ensuring the security and prosperity of the United States - whatever that means.
"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 adds.
The Importance of a Dominant Space Presence
Military officials have touted the Space Force for a while, explaining that the growing space ambitions of countries like China and Russia - which already have considerable militaries - means that the United States will need to hold a substantial presence in space. The Space Force, they say, was built to protect the country and her interests while also deterring any form of aggression in the space frontier from other countries and keep peaceful space operations.
In a news conference in January 2020, former Defense Secretary Mark Esper explained that countries have been in space for many years., even before the threat of Russia and China became more prominent, the final frontier has been seeing increasing presence from different nations. As a result, the Space Force was established to ensure that the United States can "preserve space as a global commons."
"It's important not just to our security, but to our commerce, our way of life, our understanding of the planet, weather, you name it. So it's very important that we — we now treat it that way and make sure that we're prepared to defend ourselves and preserve space," Esper added.
So, there you have it. The Space Force has less to do with soldiers in funny suits and more to do with protecting the United States and her interests in the final frontier - satellites essential to daily life and other resources that have been put out there by the government and private organizations.
Ever after Trump lost his re-election bid and was headed out of the White House, the Space Force continued to grow. The agency immediately took steps to outlast the administration that brought it, with recruits quickly graduating from basic military training - a ceremony was even held in Texas last December.
All in all, the Space Force has thousands of officials, many of which go by the name "guardians." At full strength, the agency is expected to number about 16,000 people.
Accomplishments So Far
As expected, the Space Force got off to a bit of a rocky start. Trolls came for the agency from the beginning, and the ribbing was nonstop. However, the agency has done some impressive work.
Last March, the Space Force carried out the first "national security space launch," where it sent a military communications satellite. Lockheed Martin built the satellite, and it was part of a six-satellite network of encrypted and unjammable systems.
In May, the Space Force also launched the X-37B space plane into orbit. The aircraft carried equipment for the military and NASA, many of which were focused on research and development. SpaceX has also helped the Space Force to launch new GPS satellites over the past 12 months. The first of the satellites is already operational.
It is unclear how much support the Space Force will get from President Biden and his administration. However, if there's one thing that everyone seems to know, it is that the Space Force is here to stay for sure.