U.S. President Donald Trump signed the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Dec. 20 and with it, directed the establishment of the U.S. Space Force (USSF) as the sixth branch of the armed forces.
While independent, the new branch is nested within the Department of the Air Force, much as the Marine Corps is connected to the Department of the Navy.
A four-star general known as the Chief of Space Operations (CSO) serves as the senior military member of the USSF. The CSO will be a full member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in December 2020.
“We are at the dawn of a new era for our Nation’s Armed Forces. The establishment of the U.S. Space Force is an historic event and a strategic imperative for our Nation. Space has become so important to our way of life, our economy, and our national security that we must be prepared as a Nation to protect it from hostile actions,” said Secretary of Defense, Mark T. Esper. “Our Military Services have created the world’s best space capabilities. Now is the time for the U.S. Space Force to lead our Nation in preparing for emerging threats in an evolving space environment. This new service will help ensure we are postured to deter aggression, defend our national interests and outpace potential adversaries.”
“Space is critical to our nation’s economic interests, national security, and way of life,” said Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Milley. “In military operations, space is not just a place from which we support combat operations in other domains, but a warfighting domain in and of itself. Our adversaries are building and deploying capabilities to threaten us, so we can no longer take space for granted. The U.S. Space Force is the necessary and essential step our Nation will take to defend our national interests in space today and into the future.”
“The launch of the U.S. Space Force propels the nation into a new era,” said Secretary of the Air Force, Barbara M. Barrett. “An agile, lean and technologically-advanced force of talented professionals will now singularly focus on protecting our U.S. national interests and security in space.”
“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, Chief of Space Operations and Commander, U.S. Space Command. “The U.S. Space Force will deliver the capabilities U.S. Space Command needs to control and exploit space for national advantage.”