Established during the Trump administration within the Department of the Air Force on December 20, 2019, the United States Space Force, or USSF, is the newest branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. A military service that organizes, trains, and equips space forces in order to protect U.S. and allied interests in space and to provide space capabilities to the joint force, the USSF’s responsibilities include developing Guardians, acquiring military space systems, maturing the military doctrine for space power, and organizing space forces to present to our Combatant Commands.
Who is in charge of the United States Space Force?
The Secretary of the Air Force has overall responsibility for the USSF, under the guidance and direction of the Secretary of Defense. Additionally, a four-star general known as the Chief of Space Operations (CSO) serves as the senior military member of the USSF and is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Chief of Space Operations, U.S. Space Force, serves as the principal uniformed advisor to the Secretary of the Air Force on Space Force activities. The CSO presides over the office of the Chief of Space Operations, transmits plans and recommendations to the Secretary of the Air Force and acts as the Secretary’s agent in carrying them out.
Where are the United States Space Force Headquarters?
Just like the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, the USSF headquarters are located in the Pentagon. As a new military service, the USSF will leverage the Department of the Air Force for more than 75 percent of its enabling functions to significantly reduce cost and avoid duplication. The Department of the Air Force will provide support functions that include logistics, base operating support, business systems, IT support, civilian personnel management and audit agencies. Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) was redesignated as the USSF as an initial step in establishing the USSF. Military members that were assigned to AFSPC have now been assigned to the USSF but remain Airmen within the U.S. Air Force. Appropriate Air Force space-related personnel will transfer into the Space Force and become Space Force Guardians in a deliberate manner over the next 18 months. Over time, the Department of Defense (DOD) vision is to consolidate space missions from across the Armed Forces into the USSF, as appropriate and consistent with law.
What does the United States Space Force do?
The new, independent U.S. Space Force will maintain and enhance the competitive edge of the Department of Defense in space while adapting to new strategic challenges.
Spacelift operations at the East and West Coast launch bases provide services, facilities and range safety control for the conduct of DOD, NASA and commercial space launches. Through the command and control of all DOD satellites, satellite operators provide force-multiplying effects – continuous global coverage, low vulnerability and autonomous operations. Satellites provide essential in-theater secure communications, weather and navigational data for ground, air and fleet operations and threat warning.
Ground-based and space-based systems monitor ballistic missile launches around the world to guard against a surprise missile attack on North America. A global network of space surveillance sensors provides vital information on the location of satellites and space debris for the nation and the world. Maintaining space superiority is an emerging capability required to protect U.S. space assets from hostile attacks.