What is the Space Force & What do They Do?


The U.S. Space Force (USSF) was created not long ago in order to conduct military operations in space. Once an Air Force Command, it became its own branch of service in 2019.

There is a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding about USSF so to clear the air, we thought we’d explain exactly what USSF is and what they do.

What is the Space Force?

The USSF is the newest branch of the Armed Forces. It was established December 20, 2019 with enactment of the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.

What is the Space Force Mission?

The U.S. Space Force is a military service that organizes, trains, and equips space forces in order to protect U.S. and allied interests in space and to provide space capabilities to the joint force. USSF responsibilities include developing Guardians, acquiring military space systems, maturing the military doctrine for space power, and organizing space forces to present to our combatant commands.

What is the Space Force Justification?

Space has become essential to American security and prosperity – so much so that the United States need a branch of the military dedicated to its defense, just like it has branches of the military dedicated to protecting and securing the air, land, and sea. Unfettered access to space is vital to national defense, according to the USSF. Space systems are woven into the fabric of American life. Space affects almost every part of daily life and is fundamental to our economic system. For example, satellites not only power the GPS technology used daily, but it allows people to surf the web and call friends, enable first responders to communicate with each other in times of crisis, time-stamp transactions in the world financial market, and even allows people to use credit cards at gas pumps.

What is the Space Force Headquarters?

USSF is headquartered at the Pentagon along with the other services of the U.S. Department of Defense. USSF is led by Gen. Jay Raymond who was appointed as the Chief of Space Operations in 2019. He will be replaced by Lt. Gen. B. Chance Saltzman who will be promoted to general and was already confirmed to replace Raymond who will retire after 38 years of military service. Saltzman will lead the Space Force and its 16,000 Guardians and civilians at a key moment as it transitions more fully from the early stages of its creation that focused heavily on organization, administration, doctrine, and sustainment to a more operational posture and modernizing the constellation of satellites that are at the heart of the Space Force’s operation. Chief Master Sergeant Roger Towberman is the senior enlisted advisor. This information is valid as of October 2022.

What is the Space Force Uniform?

The Operational Camouflage Pattern Uniform is worn by USSF personnel with distinctive badges and rank insignia. USSF Class A uniform has a modernized look that is based on the U.S. Air Force Class A, but it is distinctly USSF and looks very futuristic. The uniforms officially became a part of the USSF in 2022.

What is the Space Force Size?

With the redesignation of Air Force Space Command as the USSF, approximately 16,000 military and civilian space personnel were assigned to the USSF on Dec. 20, 2019. These assigned personnel were Airmen within the U.S. Air Force, but they became Guardians with the USSF. Appropriate personnel were given the opportunity to transfer into the new armed force and become USSF service members, in a deliberate manner. USSF considers transfers from other branches of service, but mostly it has directly recruited personnel in its ranks or transfers from the Air Force.

Personnel who were assigned to a unit/organization that was redesignated to the USSF will maintain their assignment in the redesignated organization and be assigned to the USSF. However, they remain a member of the U.S. Air Force. Individuals will become members of the USSF once they have transferred either through a new appointment (for officers) or by enlisting into the USSF.  Now and in the future, the USSF says, there will continue to be airmen, who are members of the U.S. Air Force, assigned to support the USSF mission.  

What is the Space Force Logo?

Initially, the USSF logo was on a dark blue disc, between two constellations in white, a light blue globe grid-lined in silver surmounted by a silver delta both encircled diagonally by a white orbit ring, all beneath a white Northern star in the upper left portion of the disc and above the roman numerals “MMXIX” arching in white below. Encircling the disc is a dark blue designation band edged with an inner and outer border and between two deltas, the inscription “UNITED STATES SPACE FORCE” all in white.

The dark blue and white combine to represent the vast recesses of outer space. The delta wing evokes historic ties to the earliest days of the U.S. Air Force space community, and symbolizes change and innovation. It also represents all variations of space vehicles that support America’s National Defense Strategy and National Security Space Strategy. 

Dark and light shades of grey within the delta embody the 24/7 operations of USSF, while the placement and upward orientation of the delta reveals the central role of USSF in defending the space domain. The globe represents the terrestrial home of the USSF and its support to the joint warfighters. The elliptical orbit signifies defense and protection from all adversaries and threats emanating from the space domain. It also represents ongoing interagency cooperation and allied partnerships. The white Polaris symbolizes the guiding light of security and alludes to a constant presence and vigilance in space now and in the future. Two clusters of small stars represent the space assets developed, maintained, and operated by USSF. The three larger stars symbolize the organize, train, and equip functions of USSF.

In July 2022, the USSF logo departed from its Air Force Space Command roots. It was modified and has a silver outer border on the delta that signifies defense and protection from all adversaries and threats emanating from the space domain. The black area inside embodies the vast darkness of deep space. Inside the delta, the two spires represent the action of a rocket launching into the outer atmosphere in support of the central role of USSF defending the space domain. The four beveled elements symbolize the joint armed forces supporting the space mission: Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marines. In the center of the delta is the star Polaris, which symbolizes how the core values guide the USSF.

What is the Space Force Motto?

Semper Supra, meaning “Always Above” in Latin.

What is the Space Force Song?

The song is called, “Semper Supra.” It was released as the official song in September 2022 at a space conference.

What is the Space Force Capable of?

The USSF maintains and enhances the competitive edge of the U.S. military in space while adapting to new strategic challenges. 

Space lift operations at the east and west coast launch bases provide services, facilities and range safety control for the conduct of Defense Department, NASA and commercial space launches. Through the command and control of all Defense Department 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.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Public information from the USSF website was used in this post.)

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