Space Case: There’s A New Branch Of The US Military Called The Space Force
On December 20, 2019, Donald Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act for 2020, effectively creating the sixth branch of the country’s armed forces, the United States Space Force (USSF). Yet despite its formidable name, the Space Force is not so much an entirely new division of the military as it is a re-designation of what was previously known as the Air Force Space Command (AFSPC). The establishment of the AFSPC goes back to September, 1982, when U.S. tensions with the Soviet Union ran especially high. The organization was tasked with keeping one eye on missiles while overseeing spacecraft launch operations, and keeping the other eye on satellites while surveilling space. Over the decades, the AFSPC became the go-to military unit for the latest technological breakthroughs in satellite communications, meteorology, and GPS, eventually expanding its mission areas to include cyberspace. A Period of Transition Now, about 16,000 military and civilian personnel in the AFSPC are being re-assigned to the brand-new USSF. The emergent organization’s first Chief of Space Operations is General Jay Raymond, leader of the U.S. Space Command, one of the United States Department of Defense’s unified combatant commands. The Space Force defines itself as “a military service that…
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