Space force

The ‘Starfleet’ amendment puts the Space Force in a political stalemate

Introduced by Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), the proposal to use Navy ranks received significant endorsement from Starfleet Captain William Shatner himself.

WASHINGTON — Before the House passed the so-called “Starfleet Amendment,” Space Force officials had been debating internally a new reporting structure to distinguish the space branch from its parent service, the U.S. Air Force.

The amendment in the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2021 requires the Space Force to use the Navy rank structure. The proposal will be debated later this year at a House and Senate conference. The Senate should support the amendment for it to become law.

Introduced by Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), a former Navy SEAL, the amendment received significant endorsement from Starfleet Captain William Shatner himself.

Shatner has sparked an internet firestorm calling for the US Space Force to adopt Star Trek naval ranks for its officers and enlisted personnel. In an emoji-filled editorial in military times Shatner said it should be obvious to everyone that starships are led by captains, not colonels.

Crenshaw tweeted on Aug. 25 to Shatner, “I got you covered. My amendment passed the House and directs the Space Force to use Navy ranks. We will work to keep it in the NDAA! »

Space Force officials declined to comment on Shatner’s article or whether his views might carry weight with lawmakers.

“We are aware of recent public discussions and views on potential naming conventions for US Space Force ranks,” US Space Force spokeswoman Lynn Kirby said in a statement. SpaceNews.

Kirby said the service “continues to work with our congressional partners and space professionals to define the culture and brand that respects our long history and reflects our role in protecting the ultimate heights. We are not commenting.” proposed legislation and will announce Space Force ranks when the decision is final.

During a Facebook Live event last month, Chief Master Sgt. Roger Towberman, the Space Force’s senior enlisted adviser, said the space service will continue to use the Air Force rank structure until this issue is resolved in the legislative process. If Crenshaw’s amendment becomes law, he said, “we’re ready to execute.”

With the spotlight on this issue, the Space Force finds itself in a difficult impasse having to respect the law but also under pressure from its own ranks to allow the service to build its own identity.

The Starfleet Amendment has become a polarizing issue within the Space Force, sources said. Some view the prospect of using naval ranks as an insult that would permanently turn the service into a Star Trek punchline. But the debate has been welcomed by many in the space community who worry that the Space Force leadership isn’t doing enough to break away from the Air Force.

According to sources, Space Force leaders have drawn up a proposal to use Air Force ranks with a slight modification to the uniform chevrons and renaming junior enlisted personnel as specialists instead of specialists. aviators.

If naval ranks were adopted, Space Force officers would be ensigns, lieutenants, commanders, captains, and admirals. Enlisted personnel would be NCOs and NCOs.

Air Force officers are second lieutenants and first lieutenants, captains, majors, lieutenant colonels, colonels, and generals. Enlisted leaders are staff sergeants and master sergeants.

Critics of the Crenshaw amendment who posted comments on social media said that if the Space Force were to adopt naval ranks, it should be done of its own volition and not imposed by Congress or celebrities.

Several commentators have said they are concerned that the use of naval ranks in the Space Force will reinforce public misunderstanding of what the service does, contributing to the widespread misconception that the Space Force is a space fleet. which unfolds in space.