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What Is The Space Force?

There are a lot of misconceptions and confusion around the military’s newest branch, the United States Space Force (USSF)....
The chief of space operations for the U.S. Space Force displays the service’s uniform nametapes in the Pentagon Jan. 17 in Arlington, Virginia. The Space Force is the sixth branch of service that was established during the signing of the National Defense Authorization Act on Dec. 20, 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Robert Barnett)

There are a lot of misconceptions and confusion around the military’s newest branch, the United States Space Force (USSF). Yes, it is real. And people are actively working to support the U.S. military’s mission to keep Americans safe and have been long before the USSF existed. If you are considering military service you should consider the USSF and see if it is right for you. Picking the right military branch when joining the military is an important step. And skipping over a branch of the service because you don’t know a lot about it could lead to a missed opportunity for you. There are a lot of opportunities within the USSF’s innovative branch and as the world changes the demand for those with a background in Space may give you opportunities for a career after military service. 

Do you get to travel in space?

Before talking about what the USSF is, we should probably cover what it isn’t. If you have dreams of space travel and exploration you will have to head over to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) because that is still under their control. If becoming an astronaut is a goal in your future look into becoming a fighter pilot in the Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Army. The U.S. Space Force won’t have you blasting out of earth’s atmosphere. Instead, your role in the Space Force will be on planet Earth. Most often working with satellites either primarily through designing, monitoring, and launching.  

History of the Space Force

What does this mean for you as a potential Guardian? Guardian is what the Space Force calls its members. It comes from the original motto when the U.S. Air Force Space Command was established in 1983, “Guardians of the High Frontier.” Not, the movie Guardians of the Galaxy. There is an idea that the USSF steals pop culture references for their design and nomenclature. But the truth is that what actually happened is that pop culture took references from the early days of space exploration and used them in their logos and design. So when you see the delta and think of Star Trek, it actually comes from as far back as 1961 when it was first used within the Space community. 

Mission of the Space Force

But besides knowing about the symbols and history of the Space Force you also need to know about their mission. While the Space Force has their mission clearly laid out on its website it doesn’t do a good job of explaining what they do to those outside of the space arena. One of the problems with helping people understand the U.S. Space Force is how much of the work the USSF does is classified. Meaning members of the general public are not allowed to know a lot of what the USSF does because of national security concerns. But that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about the work being done. There are a number of things the USSF does that are completely unclassified.

What does the Space Force do?

The Space Force is responsible for launching, maintaining, and monitoring the U.S. fleet of satellites. While there are a number of classified systems there are also a number of unclassified systems and some of those we use in our daily life. One of the ones that people use and don’t realize it is connected to the USSF is the Global Positioning System or GPS. GPS is used by the military but it is also open and available for use by the general public across the world. Companies like Google and Apple use GPS satellites to help you get to your destination. Other satellites built and maintained by the Space Force are Weather Satellites, Communication Satellites, the Defense Missile Warning System, and more. 

Are you ready to join the Space Force?

If you are technically minded and interested in a career that will give you the opportunity to be involved in what the U.S. is doing to protect its Space assets at home and circling around the globe you should consider the USSF. Originally, Guardians trained alongside Airmen for Basic Training but as of 2022 Space Force members complete their own training still located at Joint Base San Antonio. Officers still primarily commission through AF ROTC or the Air Force Academy, but as things continue to evolve and grow it may change. Make sure to talk to a Space Force recruiter to get the most up-to-date information.

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Amanda Huffman