The command structure is defined. Official military doctrine outlining independent space power theory has been codified. The official seals, motto and flags have all been signed. Even the PT uniform, featuring the Star Trek-esque delta emblem at the hem of the race shorts, is being wear tested.
This is all part of the massive build-up underway, preparing the US Space Force (USSF) to embark on a new era of national defense where commercial space and military interests collide.
“While America is still the dominant military power on the planet today, we are more effectively challenged militarily than at any other time in our history,” the Secretary of the Air Force said Monday. Frank Kendal.
This challenge is no longer strictly terrestrial. In an age of commercial space tourism and reliance on satellites, space has changed from a benign environment to a contested environment, according to a senior Space Force official.
“We don’t have decades. We are in a race with serious adversaries who want to deprive us of the advantages we get in space,” Lt. Gen. B. Chance Saltzman, deputy chief of space operations for the USSF, told participants Tuesday. conference on cyber airspace.
“Notably, it is clear that our strategic international competitors have invested heavily to militarily leverage space, but more importantly, have invested heavily to prevent others from using space capabilities,” he said.
Russia and China pursue and use kinetic and non-kinetic space weapons, “some operating on the ground, pointing upwards. And some are designed to operate from orbit,” Saltzman said. Some of these systems include directed energy, jammers, and satellite destruction vehicles.
In addition, there are currently nearly 30,000 tracked objects in orbit, prompting more than 1,500 collision-prone objects to be monitored at any one time, he added.
“Space has really become a crowded and contested environment,” Saltzman said.
Pushing military capabilities to infinity and beyond is hardly new. The Air Force established Air Force Space Command in 1982. More than two decades later, this mission has expanded into cyberspace and provided space-based communication and navigation support for US forces deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In December 2019, the command was cleared to stand alone.
With a streamlined staff of 6,400, setting up the new service was an exercise in building something new while shedding layers of bureaucracy, according to Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, chief of space operations. of the USSF.
“We wanted to have a tailor-made organization, designed for speed. Something that could go fast. Something where we can push decision-making to the lowest level, and something we could eliminate layers of bureaucracy,” Raymond said.
Over the past year, three field commands have come online: Space Operations Command (SpOC) in October 2020, Space Systems Command (SSC) and Space Training & Readiness Command (STARCOM) in August 2021.
The strategy eliminated two levels of command: a numbered Air Force and an O-6 command, Raymond said.
The new prototype Space Force dress uniform was also unveiled on Tuesday. The ensemble is inspired by the Air Force uniform, with gray trousers and an asymmetrical dark navy jacket with six silver buttons running down in a line from the right shoulder, representing the six branches of the US military.
This week, Space Force released its enlisted rank insignia design and personnel blueprint, called Guardian Ideal.
The Air Force Association’s annual Air Space Cyber Conference is being held through Wednesday in National Harbor, Maryland.