From the NFRW Armed Services Committee
By Mary Smart, Hawaii
The youngest branch of our Armed Forces is celebrating Birthday #3 on December 20.
On December 20, 2019, the United States Space Force (USSF) became the sixth branch of the Armed Forces by the signing of that year’s annual defense policy bill. The USSF was established within the Department of the Air Force. Members of the Space Force are called “Guardians."
The USSF is responsible for organizing, training, and equipping Guardians to conduct global space operations that enhance the way our joint and coalition forces fight, while also offering decision makers military operations to achieve national objectives.
Approximately 16,000 military and civilian space personnel were assigned to the Space Force on Dec. 20, 2019. Appropriate personnel will have the opportunity to transfer into the new Armed Force and become U.S. Space Force service members, in a deliberate manner to eventually meet the mission requirements.
According to the USSF, their capabilities are:
Maintain and enhance the competitive edge of the DOD in space while adapting to new strategic challenges.
Spacelift operations at the East and West Coast launch bases provide services, facilities and range safety control for the conduct of DOD, NASA, and commercial space launches. Through the command and control of all DOD satellites, satellite operators provide force-multiplying effects – continuous global coverage, low vulnerability, and autonomous operations. Satellites provide essential in-theater secure communications, weather and navigational data for ground, air, and fleet operations and threat warning.
Ground-based and space-based systems monitor ballistic missile launches around the world to guard against a surprise missile attack on North America. A global network of space surveillance sensors provides vital information on the location of satellites and space debris for the nation and the world. Maintaining space superiority is an emerging capability required to protect U.S. space assets from hostile attacks.