Space Command Matures

The United States Space Force, the first new branch of the American military since 1947, is rapidly moving from a startup to a substantive branch of the armed services. Since it was established by President Trump in 2019, it has begun to develop the personnel and physical facilities necessary for it to play a significant role.

Like the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, the Space Force is a military service, and its mission is to organize, train, equip and provide forces and capabilities to the U.S. Space Command and the other unified combatant commands around the world.

But in the same way the Marine Corps falls under the Department of the Navy rather than having its own department, the Space Force falls under the Department of the Air Force as it was originally Air Force Space Command.

Last month, the first seven people to enlist directly into the Space Force graduated from basic military training. As of late 2020, there are more than 2,000 uniformed personnel in the Space Force. As with the other services, there are civilian employees as well. About 6,000 civilian professionals are working within the Space Force.

At the same time, as a brand new service, there are individuals who are not in the Space Force, but for the time being, are assigned to it while it gets on its feet. Right now this includes about 8,000 additional military and civilian personnel.

The number of Space Force trainees will continue to increase over time as processes for recruiting and training are solidified, and the Space Force plans to recruit over 300 enlisted members through the end of the fiscal year.

Through January, all new Space Force members will become Space Systems Operations specialists and in February, new members will be placed in additional career fields such as operations intelligence and cyber systems operations.

Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond spoke to the graduates before administering the Oath of Enlistment.

“I need you to be bold. You will help us build this service from the ground up. You will help us define our warfighting culture. You will build the Space Force as the first digital service. You will lay the foundation of a service that is innovative and can go fast in order to stay ahead of a significant and growing threat, and you, if deterrence fails, will fight and win the battle for space superiority which is so vital to our nation, our allies and our joint and coalition forces,” he said, adding that “the nation expects you to deliver dominant Spacepower.”

To accommodate the new service, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Patrick Air Force Base have been formally re-designated as facilities central to the mission of the U.S. Space Force

Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Patrick Air Force Base were formally re-designated Dec. 9, as facilities central to the mission of the U.S. Space Force during a ceremony rich in symbolism that further confirmed the nation’s commitment to operating in and defending space.

A Federal News Network article quoted Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist stating that “Future wars will be waged not just in the air, on the land or at sea, but also in space and cyberspace.”

C4isrnet reports that the “U.S. Space Force leadership is confident the new service’s budget will increase in the coming years as the Pentagon continues to prioritize spending on space systems, according to the head of the Space Force’s main acquisitions body. ‘If you thought space was going to be a priority in a kind of one-and-done way, that’s not clearly what’s been happening, right?’ Lt. Gen. John Thompson, commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center, said …So three years in a row budgets have gone to the Hill with foundational changes to the space budget.’”

Frank Vernuccio serves as editor-in-chief of the New York Analysis of Policy & Government

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