The U.S. Army and the U.S. Space Force

June 19, 2020

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The U.S. Space Force (USSF) was established on 20 December 2019 as a military service within the Department of the Air Force. According to the National Defense Authorization Act, it is to be organized to provide freedom of operation for the United States in, from and to space and to provide prompt and sustained space operations. This is a vital mission and must remain its focus. 

Standing up the new service will not be simple. There are several important tasks that need to be accomplished: 

  • The service headquarters must be organized and staffed;
  • its place within the Department of the Air Force and DoD must be 
  • established;
  • it must be physically located and set up in the Pentagon;
  • its roles and missions must be determined;
  • operating procedures and systems must be put in place and integrated into the battle rhythm that is required to sustain the force; and
  • it must be prepared to accept those space and space-related capabilities that need to transfer in from the other services. 

As the establishment of the USSF moves forward, the temptation for overreach must be avoided. It is critical to identify specific space and space-related capabilities to be transferred to the USSF; it is equally important to determine which capabilities should remain with their respective service—in this case, with the U.S. Army. This must be the result of a disciplined and thorough process to ensure that it is done correctly. The purpose of this paper is to suggest three principles to guide the way forward in identifying these capabilities.

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