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Secretary of the Air Force Barbara M. Barrett praised the formal creation of the U.S. Space Force Dec. 20, identifying it as a critical capability in defending the nation and pledging that the first new branch of the military since 1947 would be established with speed and clarity of purpose.
“The launch of an independent U.S. Space Force propels us into a new era dedicated to protecting U.S. national interests and security in space,” Barrett said. “We will work with (Department of Defense) leaders, Congress, our joint military teammates, industry and our national security partners as we establish the Space Force to ensure continued American leadership in space.”
Bringing the Space Force into reality has been a top priority for Barrett since becoming the secretary of the Air Force in October. “An agile, lean and technologically-advanced force of talented professionals will now focus singularly on space,” she said. “The president and Congress gave us a job to do, and we are moving out.”
In accordance with the National Defense Authorization Act signed into law Dec. 20 by President Donald J. Trump, the U.S. Space Force is the sixth branch of the United States military. While independent, it is nested within the Department of the Air Force, much as the Marine Corps is connected to the Department of the Navy.
By creating a new, separate service with a dedicated purpose, the U.S. will maintain space superiority, even as space becomes more crowded and contested. The NDAA also directs that the Space Force “shall provide the freedom of operation in, from and to space, while providing prompt and sustained space operations.”
“What an opportunity to be here at the creation of this new service,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein. “Now we must get to work building a service focused on space operations, created on a foundation of trust and confidence and with its own unique space culture. I am honored to be part of this historic moment and eager to work with my teammate and fellow joint chief, the chief of Space Operations.”
Space is essential to America’s security and prosperity, so much so that a branch of the military dedicated to its defense and “rules-based” future is required.
The National Defense Strategy clearly articulates that U.S. adversaries have turned space into a warfighting domain and continue to threaten U.S. national interests. The Space Force will organize, train and equip forces to address these growing threats. The creation of the U.S. Space Force represents a monumental change in the nation’s warfighting capabilities and the ability to fight and win future conflicts.
“With the establishment of the Space Force we elevate the ‘organize, train and equip’ function consistent with the criticality of the space domain,” said Gen. Jay Raymond, commander of U.S. Space Command. “The Space Force will deliver the capabilities U.S. Space Command needs to control and exploit space for national advantage.”
The Air Force, along with the DoD, has been preparing for this day. By design, the Space Force will be agile, lean and mission focused. It will minimize bureaucratic overhead and maximize focus on operations, intelligence and fielding of advanced capabilities.
In addition, the Space Force will leverage the Air Force for more than 75% of its enabling functions to reduce cost and avoid duplication. For example, this will include capabilities ranging from logistics, base operating support, civilian personnel management, business systems, IT support and audit agencies.
The Department of the Air Force has a proud history and long-standing record of providing the best space capabilities in the world, according to department officials. The Space Force will maintain that competitive edge and adapt to emerging challenges. At the same time, the Space Force will have its own budget, culture and ethos, doctrine, warfare development, training and personnel development.